Tesco has become the first retailer to cover the cost of VAT on its range of period underwear, following an industry push calling on the government to scrap the 20% tax that applies to the product
The supermarket will introduce a 20% reduction across all eight lines of its F&F period pants from this week, to help make them more affordable to customers.
This will see a pack of three pants reduced from £18 to £14.40, while a single pair will now cost £6 instead of £7.50.
The decision comes after Tesco joined the Say Pants To The Tax campaign, led by M&S and period underwear brand Wuka, urging the government to reclassify period pants as a period product so they can be exempt from the tax.
Christine Heffernan, communications director, Tesco Group, said: ‘We know that the cost of buying essential period products can be a real struggle for many people. 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 to customers.
‘We were the first retailer to cover the cost of VAT on period products in 2017 and we’re proud to be helping customers again by covering the cost of VAT on period pants now, to make them that bit more affordable.’
So far, more than 22,000 people have signed the support petition, including Helen Dickinson OBE, the CEO of the British Retail Consortium.
Charities including Freedom4Girls, Wellbeing of Women and Bloody Good Period have put their names to the letter, as well as MPs and peers across all parties.
Victoria McKenzie-Gould, Corporate Affairs Director at M&S, said: ‘We’ve been blown away by the response to this campaign. More than 20,000 people have added their name to the petition and dozens of supporters have signed the open letter urging the government to remove the VAT from period pants.
‘And now with Primark and Tesco coming on board, we can reach even more people to ask them to Say Pants to the Tax.’
Tesco was also the first retailer to cover the cost of VAT on nearly 100 own-label and branded tampons and sanitary products back in 2017, ahead of the government’s decision to remove the tax in 2021.