Tesco has become the first retailer to cover the cost of VAT on period pants.
From today, (21 August) the retailer has reduced the price of its eight-strong F&F range of period pants by 20% in a bid to make them more affordable for customers.
Period pants are currently classified as garments by the government, rather than menstrual products, meaning they are subject to VAT.
However, the move by Tesco brings them in line with other period products, which have been exempt from the ‘tampon tax’ since 2021.
For instance, a three-pack of F&F period pants, which yesterday had a shelf price of £18, now costs £14.40. Meanwhile, a single pair now costs £6, down from £7.50.
This allowed Tesco to offer “market-leading value on this more sustainable, reusable option”, it said.
Tesco and Primark last week joined the ‘Say pants to the tax’ campaign, launched by M&S and period underwear brand Wuka, calling on the government to reclassify period pants as a menstrual product.
The petition had received almost 26,000 signatures at the time of writing.
“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,” said Tesco group communications director Christine Heffernan.
“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”.
Tina Leslie, founder of period poverty charity Freedom4Girls, said this was “fantastic news for people wanting to purchase period pants”.
“We never understood why, when the tampon tax was abolished, they didn’t include period pants. This shows how still that there is such a lack of understanding and education surrounding periods and period protection.
“Hopefully, with Tesco taking the lead, more outlets and supermarkets will follow and press the government to change the policy.”