Women’s Resource Centre repurposes Tampon Tax campaign money in face of Government refusal to act in women’s best interests

  • Calls on UK Government to use Tampon Tax Funds for specialist women’s organisations at frontline of Covid-19 have been ignored
  • Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DDCMS) has refused to talk to Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) about repurposing of the Tampon Tax Fund
  • Having started a campaign in 2019 for the Tampon Tax Fund to be awarded solely to women’s specialist charities, Women’s Resource Centre will use all new donations to their #PayBackTheTamponTax campaign to support Mama Health & Poverty Partnership in Manchester
  • Original crowd fund smashed through first £9k target by 30% 

Today, Saturday 18th April 2020, UK umbrella charity, Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) has announced that all future donations to its campaign, ‘Pay Back The Tampon Tax’, will now go to a group of specialist women’s charities in Manchester that form the Mama Health & Poverty Partnership. In support of Charity So White, a minimum of 20% will be ring fenced for BME women’s charities.  This move comes off the back of the Government’s refusal to meet with WRC to discuss the repurposing of the Tampon Tax Fund, which is the VAT collected by The Treasury on each purchase of period products, to provide vital funds for frontline women’s charities.

The impact of Covid-19 has accelerated destitution, food and electricity poverty for many women across the UK. In addition, domestic abuse cases have risen by over 25%, although the real figure is thought to be closer to 50%, putting a desperate strain on support services. Many of the specialist women’s charities are also facing a battle to survive and to continue delivering critical, frontline services to women and girls who are in need. A recent survey conducted by WRC, Rosa Fund for Women & Girls and Women’s Fund for Scotland found:

  • 67% are worried about surviving the coronavirus crisis.
  • 78% said their most pressing challenge was the ability to run their services effectively.
  • 73% said their most pressing need at this time was funding.

The pot of money that is the Tampon Tax Fund currently sits at around £700m, with only a small proportion used for women’s charities. Women’s Resource Centre have written to the DDCMS four times, three of those to the current Secretary of State for DCMS, Baroness Barran, most recently to request that she uses her powers to repurpose the Fund for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis.

Commenting on this, Vivienne Hayes MBE, CEO for Women’s Resource Centre, said:

“After three refusals by DDCMS to talk or even listen to us, we have been left with no alternative but to take matters into our own hands. We have been delighted that our original Pay Back The Tampon Tax fundraising campaign smashed through its original target, therefore we are now putting our precious funds where our mouth is with all future donations and backing to go to Mama Health & Poverty Partnership. The most frustrating part of this is that it is in Baroness Barran’s hands. At the stroke of her pen, she could cast an immediate lifeline for women with nothing; next week might be too late for some of them. Again, we call upon Diana Barran to do the right thing.”

In November 2019, WRC launched a crowd fund to support its ‘Pay Back The Tampon Tax’ campaign asking the Government to act on its original 2015 promise to ensure this Fund is distributed solely to specialist women’s health and support charities. So far the crowd fund has raised over £12k, 30% over its original target, garnering support from the likes of Gemma Arterton and Patricia Lamour MBE.  The repurposed crowd fund is providing an income to Mama Health and Poverty Partnership which is a collection of charities supporting and delivering for African women across Manchester.

Donations can be made directly here: https://www.wrc.org.uk/appeal/donate-to-tampon-tax-campaign.

For more information and for any interviews, please contact

Caroline Macdonald


[email protected]

07970 233490

About Women’s Resource Centre Women’s Resource Centre is the leading national support organisation for the women’s sector in the UK, working towards linking all aspects of the inequality women and girls experience. Its Women’s Commissioning Support Unit has worked with small women’s frontline organisations and has helped them create partnerships for collaborative work with other groups. 

In 2014, WRC won Britain’s Most Admired Charity, and in 2016 was highly commended in the Advice, Support, and Campaigning category at the Third Sector Awards. The Why Women? campaign called upon the government to put gender back on the agenda acknowledging the systematic disadvantage women face because they are women, and publicly recognising and adequately funding the essential services the women’s sector provides to address this. 

The collaborative campaign, Fair Deal for Women, sought to join the dots on women’s inequality in the UK, gathering statistics on the disadvantages faced by women in almost all areas of life, and asked the government to act on women’s inequality. 

Women Speak Out!, funded by Comic Relief, ran for three years and empowered women who have experienced inequality, discrimination, or marginalisation to speak out and tell their stories of inequality through film. 

Women’s Resource Centre has been campaigning both for the abolishment of the Tampon Tax, which is now achieved, and for Tampon Tax Fund (raised through VAT by the Treasury on period product purchases) to go directly to women’s charities and organisations dealing with frontline issues such as violence against women and children, Universal Credit for women, women in poverty. For more information visit https://www.wrc.org.uk