French lawmakers cut 'tampon tax' after protests
French lawmakers voted Friday to slash tax on tampons and sanitary towels in a move that had initially been opposed by the government, infuriating women's groups.
The rate will be reduced to 5.5 percent from 20 percent after the government said it had found the money in the budget to finance the measure.
Anger has been mounting among women worldwide about the high taxation of the essential items, including in Britain, where the government said last month it will give millions of pounds raised from the so-called "tampon tax" to women's charities.
The French government had initially rejected calls to cut the tax, saying it would cost 55 million euros ($60 million) a year but Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the change of heart was a "step in the right direction".
Several women's groups staged protests over the government stance and said feminine sanitary products should be treated the same way as other essential items such as water and food, or condoms.
But France's junior budget minister Christian Eckert had initially dragged his feet, saying a 20 percent tax was also imposed on men's shaving products, triggering outrage.
Several countries including Britain, Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands have cut the tax after online petitions collected hundreds of thousands of signatures.
French feminist collective Georgette Sand welcomed Friday's decision as a "victory" and called on manufacturers of the products to ensure the tax cut is passed on to consumers from January 1.
© 2015 AFP