MP David Lidington has voted in favour of keeping a 5% VAT levy on woman’s sanitary products.
Last week MPs voted against a proposals to abolish the ‘tampon tax’ which means that woman will continue to pay a 5% VAT levy on the items which are classed as a ‘luxury’.
The vote has caused a storm from campaigners, who says that the taxation of sanitary products discriminates against women.
Other items, including kangaroo meat and Jaffa Cakes, are excempt from VAT.
Mr Lidington was joined in his vote by regional MPs John Howell, MP for Thame, Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South and Andrew Selous, MP for South West Beds.
He said said: “Under European rules that date back to before Britain joined the EEC in 1973, countries can keep their existing zero rate exemptions for VAT but not introduce any new ones. These rules apply equally to all EU members. If Britain, or any other country, wants to exempt more products from VAT, we have to get the agreement of the 27 other members. In the absence of such a deal, the British courts would strike down any unilateral attempt to impose new zero rates.
“Next year, there is going to be a major review of EU VAT rules and the government has said that it will seek agreement to an exemption for sanitary towels. The vote last week would not have changed anything. The amendment in question asked the government to publish a report. It did not seek to introduce a new zero rate. I believe that the government’s approach is right: recognising the current legal reality and seeking change through negotiation.”