It seemed like there was never a time to put on paper the commitment the government had made on feminine hygiene products, but finally this Thursday it announced that the next general budgets will consider reducing VAT from the current 10% to 4%. %
This was announced by Finance Minister María Jesús Montero, who opposed last May’s inclusion of the measure in the reform of the abortion law led by the Ministry of Equality, to do so in the next public reports. It is a commitment from both the PSOE and United We Can, who have agreed to include it in the coalition government agreement as well as in the General State Budget agreed by both sides for 2019.
However, the scores fell. And since then, the measure, which the Ministry of Equality has been leading to various follow-up talks, has not been introduced until now. Reports by the Treasury then revealed that the economic impact meant that the state would lose €18m in revenue.
Products under the rules are currently taxed at a reduced VAT rate of 10%, the same as that applied to, for example, garages and houses, or art and collectibles. Compresses and tampons are excluded from the essential goods subject to the 4% VAT super-reduced VAT, including medicines, school supplies or bread, fruit or milk.
The reports also consider the reduction of other products such as condoms and non-medical contraceptives (all medicines are now subject to 4% VAT), according to second vice president Yolanda Díaz and confirmed by the Treasury. The labor minister applauded that “finally” tampons, pads and other feminine hygiene products are getting a much-reduced price because “they’re necessities, not luxuries.”
The measure was well received by the Ministry of Equality, whose head, Irene Montero, described it as “justified fiscal and feminist”. “The fight against menstrual poverty is the duty of all women to protect their health,” continued the minister.
There is almost no data that assesses the impact of this type of poverty, invisible and less recognized, experienced by those who barely make ends meet, but a recent study commissioned by the research institute IDIAPJGol, which surveyed 22,000 participants, concluded that 22.2% of women do not have access to feminine hygiene products at some point in their lives due to economic difficulties and up to 39.9% cannot afford the product of their choice.
“Menstrual poverty is one of the most unjust gender inequalities we face,” said the Secretary of State for Equalities, Angela Rodriguez. The Minister of Social Rights and Agenda 2030, Ione Bellara, was “especially pleased” with this measure, which he called “injustice” that “women, especially the most vulnerable, have been suffering for too long in our country.”
Source: El Diario