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UK 'tampon tax' to go to charity after revelation that some women have been using old socks

The announcement was made in today’s UK budget after a Darlington food bank requested that tampons be made free for those who can’t afford them.

begging Source: Facebook

Updated 14.21

Tweet by @HM Treasury Source: HM Treasury/Twitter

THE UK GOVERNMENT has announced in today’s budget statement that £12 million (€15.2 million) from the so-called ‘tampon tax’ will be diverted to women’s charities for the year ahead.

In his budget speech UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said that the funds from the 5% VAT charged on the sale of sanitary products will go to women’s charities across the UK, from “Breast Cancer Care to the White Ribbon Campaign”.

Budget 2016 UK Chancellor George Osborne delivering his budget speech this afternoon Source: PA

The tax on such products has been decried in some areas as being a tax on women. However, under EU guidelines it does not immediately seem to be possible to scrap such a tax.

Currently the VAT charged on such sanitary products in the UK is 5% – the lowest rate allowable under EU rules.

Tweet by @J a y m i c a . Source: J a y m i c a ./Twitter

“Old socks, handkerchiefs, newspapers”

Meanwhile, a food bank in Darlington in the north of England has organised a campaign lobbying MPs to make tampons and other sanitary products available for free.

The campaign, titled ‘Begging for a Tampon’, was instigated after volunteers at the Darlington Salvation Army, a food bank that has been open for just the last two years, realised that some women attending the service had no access to clean tampons or sanitary towels.

These women have resorted to using “old socks, handkerchiefs, newspapers” during their periods as a matter of necessity.

The food bank claims that this has led to infections, prescriptions for antibiotics, and in some cases hospital treatment.

The campaign is urging their supporters on social media to lobby UK Minister for Health Jeremy Hunt, together with the 191 female MPs in parliament, seeking a prescription or voucher system for the provision of free tampons to those who can’t afford them.

begging2 Source: Darlington Citadel/Facebook

The volunteer service only began providing free sanitary products themselves last August after it was brought to their attention that some of the women attending their service were unable to access them.

One volunteer at the food bank, Major Colin Bradshaw told BuzzFeed News that he and other volunteers were “saddened and horrified” by the women’s stories.

“Most women confessed to regularly getting infections resulting in prescriptions for antibiotics and in some cases hospital treatment,” he said.

The service has since written to every female MP in the hope of furthering its campaign, but acknowledges that it has only received three replies, hence why it is now encouraging others to lobby parliament in the same way.

“What’s more offensive?” the food bank said on Facebook. “Showing a picture of a blood stained sock, or knowing that this is what women trapped in poverty had had to do because they can’t afford tampons resulting in them getting infections.”

No woman should live with this secret shame.

Originally published 9.46am

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