Ministers propose scrapping plans to remove GST from feminine hygiene products

Jersey's Council of Ministers say as period products are now available for free from public buildings, it is no longer necessary to remove GST from commercially-sold products. Credit: PA

Ministers in Jersey have proposed scrapping previously-agreed plans to make feminine hygiene products exempt from GST.

Before the last election, the island's parliament - the States Assembly - voted 26-16 in favour of removing the 5% tax on sanitary products.

Jersey's Goods and Services Tax was introduced in 2008, applying to everything from food and drink to clothing and fuel.

The proposition to remove the tax from period products was lodged in March 2022 by the now-Chief Minister, Kristina Moore, when she was a backbencher.

At the time, the then-Senator argued that period products are not a luxury: "Periods are not opt-in", she said.

"They are not something that is a choice – and they are not a luxury. At present, there are charities that provide menstrual projects in schools – however, women should not have to turn to charity to deal with period poverty."

Deputy Moore is now among the politicians calling for her plan to abolish the so-called "tampon tax" to be overturned.

The Treasury Minister, Deputy Ian Gorst, put forward the new proposal to reverse the previous States decision backed by the Chief Minister, the Health Minister Karen Wilson, and the Social Security Minister, Elaine Millar.

The Council of Ministers says that as the government has now made period products available for free from libraries, sports centres, youth clubs and the government offices at La Motte Street, it is "unnecessary" to also make them exempt from GST.

They argue "the intention and purpose" of Deputy Moore's original proposition has now been "met and surpassed by the government" and tax exemptions create an "administrative burden" for retailers and the government.

  • Last year, Senator Moore said the move was a "no brainer" and she "didn't realise how simple" it would be to implement.

The new proposition reads: "Recognising the challenges and uncertainties of GST zero-rating, the Council of Ministers considers that providing free products is a better and more impactful way of guaranteeing access to free period products for those who need them, and therefore having the best immediate and long-term impact that will benefit islanders.

"Accordingly, members are asked to rescind the decision of the previous assembly in favour of endorsing the scheme to provide free products to anyone who needs them."

States members are due to debate the change in September.

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