Wednesday was a big day for the country – George Osborne rolled out his final budget of the coalition government. Tax was cut on beer and spirits, good news for the dedicated legion of drinkers in the UK, but tampons are still classed as a "luxury items" – you know, those things women absolutely need. Sanitary products are still being taxed at 5%, while men's razors aren't taxed at all.
Naturally, 21-year old Laura Coryton is pissed off, angry to the extent that she's petitioned for the government to stop classifying sanitary items as non-essential. Armed with blown-up tampons soaked in red paint and sanitary towels pinned to placards, she headed for 10 Downing Street on March 11 to demonstrate. However, she wasn't listened to.
She spoke to Dazed about her disappointment that sanitary items weren't mentioned in Osborne's budget. “I was very disappointed that, unlike all of the other major political parties, both George Osborne and the Conservative Party at large have failed to acknowledge our campaign,” she said.
Coryton feels ignored by politicians and believes that Parliament has a problem with women. “Sanitary tax came from a male-dominated parliament in 1973, and it needs to be fixed by Parliament. Unfortunately this is yet another example of high-profile politicians shrugging off a issue associated primarily with women,” she says.
With 208,000 people (and counting) calling for tax on tampons to be dropped, Coryton hopes to make some noise about Osborne's refusal to stop taxing tampons. They're things we need, not a choice, and it's unfair that we're forced to part with more money for products that are undoubtedly an essential item.
In a letter to Osborne, Coryton said: "Reduce your tax on sanitary products to 0% and recognise their essentiality. They are vital to maintaining a healthy and normal life. Your failure to acknowledge this, especially in comparison with other menial products, is an insult to men and women alike, and should be reversed."
However, Wednesday's budget proved that her demands have fallen on deaf ears. “We need our supporters to share their enthusiasm across the continent, by getting behind these campaigns, so that we can tackle EU legislation with confidence,” she tells Dazed.
Osborne may have ignored women this time round, but the next budget might not be his. Sign the petition here.
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