Tesco has become the first retailer to cover the cost of the VAT on tampons.
The supermarket giant announced that it is reducing the price of women’s sanitary products in a bid to make them more affordable for customers.
The five per cent reduction in price will cover the cost of the so-called ‘Tampon Tax’ or VAT on the items ahead of Government proposals to remove the VAT and will apply to nearly 100 Tesco own label and branded products in the range.
In 2015, the government confirmed that it would seek change laws to scrap VAT on sanitary products. Until the tax is abolished, the government announced that the funds would be injected into women’s charities.
In 2016, the European Council confirmed that the Commission’s initiative would “include proposals for increased flexibility for Member States with respect to reduced rates of VAT, which would provide the option to Member States of VAT zero rating for sanitary products.”
Tesco have previously said that they would pass on the saving to customers when the government’s proposed removal of VAT came into force, but it has acted now.
Speaking about the price reduction, Michelle McEttrick, Tesco Group Brand Director said, “For many of our customers, tampons, panty liners and sanitary towels are essential products.”
“However, the cost of buying them every month can add up, and for many women and girls it can be a real struggle on top of other essential items.”
“That’s why – as a little help for our customers – we are reducing the cost of these products by fiver per cent.”
The announcement from Tesco comes after it was revealed that Scotland has become the first country to offer free sanitary products to women who can’t afford them, in a bid to beat ‘period poverty’.
Over a 1,000 women and girls are expected to benefit from the scheme, which is backed by the Scottish Government.
Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE) will run the six-month pilot in Aberdeen. If the project is successful it could lead to Scotland becoming the first country in the world to provide free sanitary products to low-income women and girls.
Speaking about the scheme, Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said, “It is unacceptable that any woman or girl in Scotland should be unable to access sanitary products.”
“That is why, as part of our wider aims to eradicate poverty from our country, we are exploring how to make products freely available to low-income groups.”
“The pilot in Aberdeen is a first step to help us understand the barriers women and girls face – and to help us develop a sensitive and dignified solution to making these products easily accessible to those who need them.”