Waitrose has become the second UK supermarket to reduce the price of sanitary products in order to cover the cost of the “tampon tax” on behalf of customers.
Back in March 2016 George Osborne suggested the 5% levy on sanitary products would soon be scrapped, but due to Brexit holdups, it’s thought we could be now paying the tax until April 2018.
In the meantime, Waitrose has committed to reducing the cost of sanitary items by 5%, effectively removing the cost of VAT for its customers.
The move follows a similar announcement by Tesco last week.
The 5% tax placed on sanitary products has long been controversial, due to the fact that the tax stems from products being classed as “luxury items”.
To add insult to injury, in April it was revealed that funds from the tax went towards funding an anti-abortion group.
Under the new scheme, Waitrose will lower the price of women’s sanitary products by 5% in its 355 UK stores and online over the course of this week.
The price drop will cover a total of 97 products, including tampons, sanitary towels and pantyliners.
The price cut will include both branded and own-label goods in a bid to make all sanitary products more affordable and tackle period poverty.
Commenting on the move, Michael Andrews, a spokesperson for Waitrose, said: “By covering the VAT cost and reducing the price by 5%, we are confident it will make a difference to our customers.”
Waitrose had previously committed to passing on VAT savings to customers if the Government’s proposed removal of VAT came into effect.
Its latest announcement appears to follow the lead of Tesco, which recently announced plans to cover the 5% tax on behalf of customers, calling sanitary products “essential items”.
Laura Coryton, leader of the ‘Stop Taxing Periods’ campaign who began the petition to abolish the “sexist” tax, welcomed the news.
Talking to HuffPost UK she said: “Tesco’s new period scheme is a bold and brave one. Reducing their period products by 5% to cover tampon tax not only helps our protest against the sexist tax, but it also helps to fight period poverty across the UK, too. I hope to see more retailers following their groundbreaking footsteps. Period.”