Period pants are set to become more affordable as the tax on this product is eliminated.

Retailers such as Marks & Spencer and Tesco have made a promise to customers that they will pass on the savings after the government abolished VAT on period pants. Women can now purchase period pants for £2 less than the current prices. Starting from Monday, several retailers, including Primark, have pledged to pass on the savings of 16% to customers. This decision was the result of a campaign supported by retailers, women’s groups, and environmentalists. Sanitary pads and tampons have been exempt from taxation since 2021, and now, period pants are also included.

The government estimates that women will save an average of £2 on period pants. The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, announced the decision to remove the tax in the autumn statement. In August, Marks & Spencer and the brand Wuka, along with about 50 other signatories, sent a letter to the Treasury urging the government to eliminate VAT on period pants. In the letter, they assured that any tax reduction would be immediately passed on to customers so they can directly benefit from the cost-saving.

Period pants have gained popularity as sustainable alternatives to single-use products like tampons. They are now available in major high street brands. These pants have a highly absorbent lining and can be used instead of sanitary pads. They can be washed and reused, similar to regular pants. Campaigners argue that removing taxation will make them more affordable.

While the 2021 law change removed the “tampon tax” on period products, it did not cover period pants. This is due to their classification as “garments,” making them exempt from the tax. The August letter from retailers emphasized that period pants have the potential to reduce plastic pollution and waste, as well as save people money in the long run. Cost has been cited as a major barrier to the adoption of period pants.

Nigel Huddleston, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, hailed the change as a victory for women and those who have raised awareness about the importance of these products. VAT is normally charged at 20% for most products, but certain items like books, children’s clothing, and most food are exempt.

Victoria McKenzie-Gould, the Corporate Affairs Director at Marks & Spencer, expressed her delight with the decision, stating that nearly 25% of women consider cost as a barrier to using period pants, and this new legislation will have a significant impact on women’s budgets in the UK.

It is important for retailers to honor their promise and pass on the VAT savings to customers. Laura Coryton, a tampon tax campaigner and the founder of the social enterprise Sex Ed Matters, believes that ending the tax on period underwear will make a tremendous difference, especially in light of the rising levels of period poverty in the UK.

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