U.K. to Reduce Tax on Condoms, Advocates Say
March 3, 2006
The United Kingdom will cut the value added tax on condoms and emergency contraception -- which can prevent pregnancy if taken up to 72 hours after intercourse -- in an effort to promote safer sex and reduce the rates of sexually transmitted infections and teenage pregnancy, advocates said Thursday, the Scotsman reports. The U.K. has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe. According to advocates, the British Her Majesty's Treasury has responded to a 10-month campaign by pharmacy chain Superdrug on the issue and plans to reduce taxes on condoms and EC from 17.5% to 5% (Gray, Scotsman, 3/3). The reduction in taxes on condoms would save consumers about $8.8 million annually, according to London's Daily Telegraph (Hall, Daily Telegraph, 3/3). The price of EC would decrease from about $44 to about $39 (BBC News, 3/3). The treasury will announce the budget on March 22, according to the Telegraph (Daily Telegraph, 3/3). The treasury would not confirm the tax cut because they do not comment on budgets that are not yet announced, BBC News reports. The Family Planning Association welcomed the prospect of a reduction in taxes on condoms and EC. "Anything that can help make condoms and emergency contraceptives more accessible is welcome," a spokesperson for the association said (BBC News, 3/3). Tim Street, director of the Family Planning Association of Scotland said that more than lower-priced condoms is needed. "You have to combine making condoms more available with continued education on why people need them," he said (Scotsman, 3/3). Family and Youth Concern, which "promotes traditional family values," said the move would push teen pregnancy and STI rates up, according to London's Times (Times, 3/3). "The more the government has invested in programs to make it easier for young people to access contraception, the higher the rates of sexually transmitted infections have risen," Norman Wells, the trust's director, said (Daily Telegraph, 3/3).
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