In a significant stride towards menstrual equity, the UK government has abolished the tax on period pants, providing women with a sustainable and cost-effective alternative. Notably, this move has prompted major brands like Marks & Spencer and Tesco to reduce the prices of period panties by £2, making them more accessible to women across the country.
One brand making a noteworthy contribution to this initiative is Ruby Cup, which has lowered the price of its period panties from £28.95 to an affordable £24.95. Moreover, with every purchase, Ruby Cup dedicates a 2% donation to support a learning centre in Kisumu, Kenya, fostering education among children. Read more about this project here.
This development comes after a collaborative campaign by retailers, women's groups, and environmentalists advocating for tax exemptions on sustainable menstrual products. The tax cut, amounting to 14%, is now being passed on to customers by prominent retailers, aligning with their commitment to provide immediate cost-saving benefits.
The removal of the tax on period pants follows the success of a previous campaign that led to the elimination of the "tampon tax" on sanitary pads and tampons in 2021. However, period pants were excluded from this legislation due to their classification as "garments," making them subject to taxation.
Major retailers, including Marks & Spencer, joined forces in August, urging the government to reconsider the taxation on period pants. The letter they submitted to the Treasury emphasized the potential of these sustainable alternatives to reduce plastic pollution and waste, while also addressing the affordability barrier that many women face when considering the switch.
Period pants have gained popularity for their eco-friendly design, featuring a highly absorbent lining and the ability to be washed and reused. The removal of taxation is expected to make them more accessible, addressing the financial barrier that has hindered widespread adoption.
The financial secretary to the Treasury, Nigel Huddleston, hailed the decision as a "victory for women" and acknowledged the efforts of those who raised awareness about the significance of period pants. Laura Coryton, a tampon tax campaigner and founder of Sex Ed Matters, emphasized the impact of ending the tax on period underwear, particularly in addressing the escalating levels of period poverty across the UK.
This move not only promotes menstrual equity but also encourages sustainable choices, marking a significant step towards a more inclusive and environmentally conscious approach to menstrual hygiene. As retailers commit to passing on the VAT cut, women can now embrace a more affordable and eco-friendly option in their menstrual care routine.