Eastbourne Labour Party criticises MP over ‘Tampon Tax’ vote

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell's maiden speech in the House of Commons SUS-150306-111725001
Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell's maiden speech in the House of Commons SUS-150306-111725001

Eastbourne Labour Party has criticised MP Caroline Ansell for promising her support to end the ‘Tampon Tax’ just days after voting against a similar proposal in the Commons.

Speaking last Wednesday (October 28) Mrs Ansell said the VAT on sanitary products was “ridiculous and insulting” and pledged to work with the Government to introduce changes to the VAT system.

But Eastbourne’s Labour group has criticised the MP’s comments, saying she voted against a Labour proposal to scrap the tax earlier the same week.

Jake Lambert, Chair of Eastbourne Labour Party, said, “How can Mrs Ansell make this claim just two days after voting against scrapping this atrocious and unfair tax in Parliament?

“She voted against a Labour amendment to compel the Government to open negotiations with the EU on the five per cent VAT rate on women’s sanitary products.

“This follows her expressions of ‘concern’ about vicious cuts to working tax credits that will leave working people an average £1,300 worse off and effect 59 per cent of children in our town.

“Yet again, a quick scan of her voting record shows that she has actually voted for these tax credit cuts several times.

“I do not expect my elected representatives to agree with me on every issue, but I do expect honesty about their intentions and their actions.

“This behaviour demonstrates why politicians are held in such contempt by the public and why almost 900 local people have joined Labour in response to Jeremy Corbyn’s call for ‘straight talking, honest politics’.

“Mrs Ansell must learn quickly that actions speak louder than words and politicians who fail to live up to their promises do not fare well when faced with the public at the ballot box – as her predecessor will attest.”

The Labour motion called on the Government to commit to scrapping the luxury VAT rate on women’s sanitary products set by EU law but was defeated by Conservative MPs – 305 votes to 287.

Despite the defeat in the Commons, Treasury Minister David Guake said he would begin to lobby the EU to scrap the luxury VAT rate following meetings with a cross-party group opposed to the tax.

Speaking last week Mrs Ansell said, “The Government has said it will make the case for change but we can’t make this decision independently of the other countries of the EU. To do so would be unlawful and could be challenged in the courts. I wish this weren’t the case but, as things stand, it is.

“Sadly, this is the sort of problem that gives the EU a bad name and masks much of the good work that it does in areas like employment law and mobile phone call charges.

“I will keep a close eye on the discussions the Government is having with the EU and the European Commission and I will be making my views clear to ministers that something must be done to remove the VAT.”