UK’s Finance Minister Rishi Sunak is set to present his first budget on March 11 and reports suggest that the British-Indian Chancellor has decided to scrap unpopular tax on women’s sanitary products. According to UK media reports, Sunak will abolish the five per cent VAT on sanitary products, also known as “tampon tax”, which will come into effect from January 2021.
Since the UK still remains in the EU’s customs union, a directive issued by the bloc bars Britain to lower the tax below five per cent. However, it will no longer be obliged to the directive after December 2020 when it completes the transition period of Brexit. The tax abolition on sanitary products was the part of manifesto pledges of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Sunak’s budget will be introduced at a time when Britain’s economy has been hit hard due to the coronavirus outbreak and the 39-year-old has a difficult job at hand. In an unexpected turn of events, Sunak was appointed as the Chancellor of the Exchequer following the resignation of Sajid Javid last month.
British politics has witnessed an exponential rise of the former Goldman Sachs banker within the Conservative Party, especially after Boris Johnson took up the mantle from Theresa May. Sunak has been a pro-Brexit voice in contrast with the former Finance Minister Sajid Javid, who had campaigned to remain in the bloc in 2016. Sunak has repeatedly advocated for Brexit through his opinion pieces and highlighting the benefits of leaving the European bloc.
The 39-year-old parliamentarian, who has served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, is married to Akshata Murthy, daughter of Infosys co-founder and billionaire Narayana Murthy. He strongly believes that small businesses in the UK would flourish as a result of Brexit as the vast majority of British businesses don't have anything to do with the EU but they are still subject to all EU law.
(With PTI inputs)