MPs who voted against the abolishment of VAT on sanitary products have pledged to get rid of the tax via the European Union.
Fylde’s three Conservative MPs, Fylde representative Mark Menzies, Blackpool North and Cleveleys’ Paul Maynard, and Wyre’s Ben Wallace, all voted against the proposal to remove the five per cent rate of duty levied on “non-essential luxury items” – dubbed the ‘tampon tax’.
But they say the reason is purely to fight the corner in Europe – because Britain is not allowed to introduce a zero rate of VAT on its own.
Cross-party support for the move was evident in Parliament, despite MPs voting 305 to 287 against the motion to scrap the tax.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “As the law stands Britain would not be allowed to exempt women’s sanitary products from VAT under EU rules, although proposals are currently being considered by the European Commission which would give member states greater powers over sales tax.
“Labour, when in Government, quite rightly reduced the tax on sanitary products to the five per cent minimum so really should know full well that you cannot reduce VAT to zero without agreement from the 28 member states of the European Union. I wish people would deal with facts rather than trying to showboat over what is clearly an important issue.
“I am pleased that colleagues in Government will raise this issue with the European Commission and with other member states, to set out the view that it should be possible to apply a zero rate of VAT to sanitary products.”
Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool South, added: “During the debate it was very clear that all sides wanted to remove VAT from sanitary products.
“But our problem is that as member on the EU we can’t do it off our own back – we need unanimity with all states.
“We will go to Europe and fight for all 28 states to agree on this; let’s hope we get our way.”
Mr Wallace was unavailable for comment.
Treasury minister David Gauke pledged to raise the issue at the EU following the vote.