Spain’s ‘nappy tax’ critics demand change

Family federations across Spain have described the 21 percent VAT on disposable nappies as "an injustice" and condemned the legal classification of what should be a "basic necessity" as a "luxury item".

Spain's 'nappy tax' critics demand change
Spain's Finance Minister recently announced plans to reduce VAT on cultural goods and services but has left the classification of nappies unchanged. Photo: Flickr/photosavvy

Montserrat García, a member of the Association of Large Families of Northern Extremadura, said that the ongoing 21 percent tax on disposable nappies was "an injustice that cannot go on for any longer, especially when they have agreed to drop VAT to 10 percent for art sales and festivals."

The association is one of three that make up the Extremaduran Large Family Federation (FExFN), which supports families with three or more children.

The federation called on the Ministry of Revenue and Public Finance to stop taxing nappies at 21 percent "like luxury items".

The protests were made following announcements from Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro stating that VAT on Culture – including theatre, cinema, music, and artwork sales – would be reduced to 10 per cent but that tax on nappies "a basic necessity used by millions of families," according to García,  would stay at 21 per cent.

The outry in Extremadura mirrored complaints made by Spain's National Federation of Large Families.

Its President, Eva Holdago, told online Spanish daily "It's unacceptable to have to pay 21 percent to buy a pack of nappies but only 10 per cent to but a painting or sculpture, when the latter is something available only to a few and, of course, is not a basic necessity."

She added: "It's incredible that nappies are taxed at more than twice the rate of theatres or restaurants, when you're talking about something that's an essential part of everyday life for at least two years."

With an average of 6 to 8 units per day per child, nappies represent a significant expense for all families.

In large families the problem is significantly worse as the financial outlay extends over more years and can involve buying nappies for several children at the same time.

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