Tesco has become the first retailer to cover the cost of VAT on its range of period pants, in the latest push from retailers to government to place the absorbent underwear in the same category as menstrual products so it can be exempt from the tax.
On Monday, the ‘Big Four’ grocer will introduce a 20 per cent reduction on its eight lines of period pants – which is how much the products are taxed at in the UK.
Since 2021, sanitary products have been exempt from VAT, after the government scrapped the Tampon Tax – a five per cent rate that was previously applied to the goods.
However, the underwear was classed as a garment meaning it still gets taxed at 20 per cent, like all other clothing.
A three pack of the pants at Tesco will now be reduced to £14.40 from £18.00 and a single pack of pants is now £6.00 down from £7.50.
It comes as fellow retailer M&S and brand Wuka, launched its ‘Say Pants To The Tax’ campaign, which is urging financial secretary to the Treasury, Victoria Atkins, to reclassify period pants as a period product in this year’s Autumn Statement.
Both Tesco and Primark have backed the M&S campaign.
“We know that the cost of buying essential period products can be a real struggle for many people,” Christine Heffernan, communications director at Tesco, said.
“And we want to do our bit to help by covering the cost of VAT on period pants, helping to make this more sustainable option more affordable for customers.”
“The government made a brilliant start by removing VAT from disposable period products, but we need them to finish the job and level the playing field so that whatever period product someone chooses to use, it is VAT free,” Victoria McKenzie-Gould, corporate affairs director at M&S, added.