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Osborne Hoping EU Will Help Him Avoid `Tampon Tax' Rebellion

  • Euroskeptics find common cause with women's rights activists
  • Unpopular tax on sanitary products raises $21 million a year

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is counting on the European Union to help him avoid a parliamentary rebellion over the so-called “tampon tax” as Conservative Euroskeptics join with women’s rights campaigners in opposition to the levy.

The 5 percent sales tax charged on women’s sanitary products, which raises just 15 million pounds ($21 million) a year, has been the subject of ongoing controversy in Parliament over the past year, and even got its own evening of debate. Osborne has tried to placate the tax’s opponents by giving the sums raised to women’s charities. The government cannot abolish it because the list of products that can be zero-rated for value-added tax is set by the EU.