Our work Campaigns Pay Back the Tampon Tax In 2015, the money collected from VAT on period products known as the Tampon Tax was pledged for women’s health and support charities. In 2019, WRC launched this campaign - Pay Back the Tampon Tax - with the core aim of seeing a spending review referring to ring-fenced funding for women’s specialist charities as promised. This campaign gained support across the women's sector and beyond. Thank you to everyone who joined us in calling on the Government to honour their promise and pay back the Tampon Tax to women’s charities. The campaign March 2019 We launch our petition calling on the Government to pay back the Tampon Tax. We set out our campaign aims. April 2019 We write this letter to Mims Davies MP, the Minister for Sport & Civil Society outlining the vital need for the Tampon Tax to be awarded to specialist women's charities. Receiving this response in May 2019. August 2019 Baroness Diana Barran takes over as the Minister for Civil Society, we write to her to inform her on and engage her with our campaign. We are hopeful, as Baroness Barran has spent decades of her career addressing and working in the field of Violence Against Women (VAWG). Here is the letter. November 2019 It is three months later, we haven’t received a response from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DDCMS), so we send this follow up. We offer to assist with efforts to improve the processes in relation to the fund so it reaches the women’s charities that it was promised to. The following day we receive this response stating that due to ‘pre election purdah [Baroness Barran was] unable to talk about policy development of any kind or to hold meetings with outside organisations.’ December 2019 We launch a crowdfund campaign with a goal to raise £9,000 to promote the Tampon Tax campaign, through activating and enabling other women’s organisations in holding the Government and local MPs to account. We will do this by creating a campaign toolkit including template letters for contacting local media and MPs about the Tampon Tax Fund, paying for campaign and policy support and providing a single point of contact for women's organisations who want to get involved, and seeking expert legal advice on developing and progressing our campaign. We will host a roadshow of events to support women's organisations and work with organisations in different UK cities who will promote the campaign in their areas January 2020 The campaign gains attention in the press from The Independent and Marie Claire, and we see donations from the likes of Gemma Arterton, and support on Twitter from Emma Watson. March 2020 Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces the abolishment of the Tampon Tax in the Budget. We of course welcome this announcement. Obviously, we don’t think women should have to pay VAT on period products – aka a completely necessary item. But, this money has been collected for decades and the Government has - we estimate - collected over £700 million from women through this tax. So, whilst we support the end of this tax on women, we believe that the money that has been and continues to be raised should go to supporting the needs of the poorest and most marginalised women in society. The COVID-19 pandemic sends the UK into lockdown. Women’s charities are under more strain than ever. The demand for their services dramatically increases whilst their ability to deliver these services is impacted by transitioning to homeworking, changes in the funding landscape, and multiple other consequences of the outbreak. WRC participates in numerous emergency conference calls, including with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of London and our own networks of frontline organisations. We write a letter to the Prime Minister signed by over 60 Civil Society Organisations to discuss how to implement a community emergency rescue plan for our local specialist civil society organisations. The most marginalised women and families in our country are pushed into destitution, they need help to buy food, and pay their bills. Women’s charities responding to this need urgent support to adapt to digital and remote service provision, to hire additional staff to respond to the crisis, and for refuges, additional PPE, hygiene and cleaning products. We know we must demand for the Tampon Tax fund to be diverted to specialist women’s charities in the form of unrestricted grants. Women’s charities don’t have the time for project planning right now. They need proper, core funding, to allow them to provide life-saving support at this desperate time. April 2020 We write to Baroness Diana Barran once more to request a meeting with her and the DDCMS to make the just and right decision to protect vulnerable women and their children. The letter is signed by representatives from across the women’s sector and beyond. We receive this disappointing response from Baroness Barran. She is not listening. The Government is not listening. It is time to take matters into our own hands. We decide that all donations to our PayBacktheTamponTax campaign will now be diverted to directly support women that need it the most. Just like the Tampon Tax fund should be. From Saturday 18th April, all funds raised through the campaign will go to the Mama Health & Poverty Partnership in Manchester. This partnership of women’s charities has a Manchester wide reach, supporting the most disadvantages and ignored women in society. May 2020 Following a conversation with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DDCMS), it was announced that the application deadline for the Tampon Tax Fund 2020-21 would be extended by a week to Sunday 7th June. Additionally, an additional line has been added to the criteria for the Tampon Tax Fund 2020-21, which states that the DDCMS 'particularly, but not exclusively, welcome applications from women's specialist charities and organisations whose projects include making onward grants to women's specialist charities.' This additional line in the criteria is a significant success of the campaign in spite of the Minister's refusal to meet us. December 2020 With the announcement of the 2020-21 recipients of the Tampon Tax fund, we were pleased to see a marked improvement in the number of grants made to women’s health and support charities. Read the full announcement here. Thank you to everyone who supported this campaign. WRC will continue to hold the line for women's specialist led by and for organisations. If you want to support our work, you can do so in the following ways: SUPPORT US WITH A DONATION JOIN THE WRC COMMUNITY WRC membership is free for women's organisations. Membership gives you access to WRC research and reports, discounts on WRC training and subscription to our monthly membership. JOIN OUR MEMBERSHIP SUBMIT A CASE STUDY Send a case study to us demonstrating the value and importance of women's specialist service. We may publish it on our website and/or use it as evidence of the need of women's services. TELL US ABOUT YOUR WORK Why WRC? WRC is the only support organisation for the women’s sector as a whole. The Tampon Tax should go to supporting that sector: it isn’t about any one issue; it’s about keeping this vital provision of diverse local organisations that help women in their communities. They save the lives of women and children, and many are unheard outside of their communities, slipping under the radar of those making decisions about their future - they just get on with their vital work day to day. We need to support them and ensure they keep their doors open. We have the biggest membership of any women’s organisation in the country, so we have the reach that will ensure smaller organisations get their voices heard and receive the support they need. We can engage a critical mass of women around the campaign. We’re leaders in collaborative work in the women’s sector, so we are used to and committed to doing this - it’s a priority of ours to build collaboration and a collective voice with the sector. We understand that the women’s sector is not just one size fits all. Rather, that there is a whole range of organisations working within different communities of women, and we support the capacity of those organisations to be independent and their ability to represent some of the very specific needs of the communities of women they work with, including disabled, or black and minoritised women. Support for WRC is support for all women’s charities and organisations. Have a look at our blogs: The women’s sector £700 million out of pocket. Here’s why, and what we can do about it. 'Why we launched the Tampon Tax campaign'