The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a major cash injection for the Women's Fund Scotland as part of this year's Tampon Tax Fund
A fund that supports grassroots women's organisation in Scotland is set to expand dramatically after a major boost from the UK Tampon Tax Fund.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced £12 million of fundging under the Tampon Tax Fund in his 2016 budget, including £600,000 for Women's Fund Scotland (WFS).
The money lead to a dramatic ramping up of the Foundation Scotland run WFS, which has given out 83 grants amounting to £163,997 since November 2013.
With this funding we hope that we can develop a service which is more than just grant-making, but will allow us to develop a mentoring service between our donors, volunteers and supporters
It will enable the fund to provide more grant programmes that empower women and girls across Scotland. The funds will focus on building skills and confidence, improving health and wellbeing, building social networks and helping women move away from violence.
Shona Blakeley, development manager at WFS, said: “We are delighted by yesterday’s announcement by the UK treasury. With this funding we hope that we can develop a service which is more than just grant-making, but will allow us to develop a mentoring service between our donors, volunteers and supporters which could help many of these smaller groups reach financial sustainability.”
The Tampon Tax is made up of government income from the 5% VAT charged on women’s sanitary products. It was introduced after women’s groups campaigned for the abolition of VAT on sanitary products on the basis that they are an essential not a luxury item.
The UK government has said EU laws prevent it from cutting the tax altogether, however, in his budget speech this week, Osborne said Britain was on the verge of getting an agreement from Brussels on the matter.
In the meantime, a total of 18 charities are to benefit from the Tampon Tax Fund including Breast Cancer Care, Girlguiding and Muslim Women’s Network UK.
The government also committed £3m to Comic Relief to disburse to grassroots women’s groups to drive awareness of women’s issues and £2.2m to Rosa Fund for Women’s UK-wide small grants fund.