Scrap the roll tax Who Gives A Crap launches pre-budget campaign taking aim at VAT on toilet roll

Source: Who Gives A Crap

70% of Brits are unaware toilet roll was subject to 20% VAT, says Who Gives a Crap

Eco-friendly paper products challenger Who Gives a Crap has called on the government to scrap the 20% VAT levied on toilet tissue.

The DTC brand has demanded the end to the “roll tax” in a submission to the Treasury, ahead of the budget on 6 March. It has also launched a petition and written to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in an open letter co-signed by charities The Hygiene Bank, Bloody Good Period and Freedom4Girls.

Currently, 70% of Brits were unaware toilet roll was subject to VAT at the standard 20% rate, according to Who Gives a Crap. At the same time, 87% believed the tax to be “unfair, which comes as no surprise when 82% class toilet roll as an essential part of their weekly shop”.

As such, 88% of consumers backed the axing of the levy, added the brand, which noted less popular products such as caviar and marshmallow teacakes were VAT rated at 0%.

The same 0% rate for toilet paper would have little impact on the government’s purse, Who Gives a Crap insisted. “The UK spends around £26m on toilet paper every week… The VAT on this brings in £247m to the Exchequer [annually], equal to just 0.05% of total tax receipts.”

An end to the ‘roll tax’ “could give hard-pressed consumers five days of household gas and electricity, a month of fresh fruit & vegetables, or six days of petrol and diesel” each year, claimed the brand, which made its UK retail debut in May last year.

Should the government change toilet paper’s VAT status, Who Gives A Crap would pass on 100% of the savings to customers, it said. It would also create a charter that encouraged other brands to follow suit.

“Something as humble as the toilet roll can make a huge difference to people’s lives, especially as the cost of living crisis continues,” said Emily Kraftman, UK MD at Who Gives A Crap.

“We were baffled to find that toilet roll is taxed as a luxury when it’s one of the most essential items in our weekly shopping carts, especially when compared to some of the more ridiculous, VAT-free items such as caviar.

“We’re calling on the government and the Chancellor to make this small change today that will benefit every single one of us,” she added.

The Hygiene Bank CEO Ruth Brock said: “People are, in increasing numbers, struggling to afford essential hygiene products due to the pressure of the cost of living crisis. It’s crucial that we remove VAT from toilet rolls to help bring prices down and support those facing hygiene poverty.”