Money from the Tampon Tax levy should be allocated to local women’s charities, an umbrella group has urged.
In an open letter to civil society minister Mims Davies, the Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) said that the levy from sanitary products, which is pledged to women’s charities, is failing to reach charities due to the application process which requires charities to make a minimum bid of £1m or more to be considered for the fund.
The letter, signed by 100 female academics and representatives of women's charities, said that this had “ruled out” smaller charities from accessing the fund and called on the government to act as a “matter of urgency”.
It reads: “Specialist women’s charities face a severe funding crisis which impacts directly on the availability of services for the most disadvantaged women facing complex challenges.
"These charities are often grassroots, locally embedded and relatively small in size compared to larger generic charities that do not have a core focus or specialism in services for women. Due to the fund criteria, there are a very small number of women’s charities in a position to bid alone.”
It comes after DCMS announced the recipients of the latest round of funding in March, which saw £15m allocated to 10 charities including Comic Relief.
“We are very concerned that the success of some of these bids will cause further damage to the fragile women’s charity sector by drawing investment to generic providers,” the letter adds.
The Tampon Tax Community Fund was launched in 2015 after criticism was waged against the government for including a tax on sanitary products.
In January, a membership organisation that administers the fund to local projects, UK Community Foundations, called the fund “oversubscribed”, and said that it could only give funding to a quarter of applicants.
The umbrella body has also launched a petition on change.org about the issue. At the time of publication, the petition has 540 signatories.
A spokesperson from DCMS defended the allocation of funding. They said: "Every project that receives Tampon Tax Funding must benefit women and girls. Funding is allocated to reach projects across the UK.
"This year alone, £7.5m has been awarded to organisations that will benefit small and medium charities, including those supporting vulnerable women and projects addressing violence against women and girls.”