Marks & Spencer urges Government to remove VAT from period pants
Marks & Spencer has called on the Government to axe the 20% VAT on period pants following the removal of the so-called Tampax Tax in 2021.
The retailer has teamed up with period pants brand, WUKA, on the Say ‘Pants to the Tax’ campaign.
More than 50 signatories, including 35 MPs and peers, and the charities Wellbeing of Women and Bloody Good Period, have signed a public letter to Victoria Atkins, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, requesting that period pants are classified as a garment in this year’s Autumn Statement.
The campaign will also call on the public to sign a parliamentary petition, which at 100,000 signatures, will be considered for debate in Parliament.
In 2021, the Government removed VAT on tampons, pads, and menstrual cups. However, period pants are classified as garments according to current rules, and are therefore subject to a tax rate of 20%.
If VAT is removed, M&S has pledged to pass the entirety of the cost saving onto customers, which means a three pack of period knickers that currently retail at £20 will have a new lower price of £16.
Laura Charles, lingerie director at M&S, said: “As the UK’s biggest knicker retailer, we want to do something about the VAT that our customers pay on period pants. Over the past few years, our customers have paid over £1.5 million in tax but if this tax is removed, we can pass the entirety of the cost saving onto our customers. It’s great to have the support of so many brilliant individuals and organisations and we welcome all businesses to sign-our letter and help us say Pants to the Tax!”
After launching period pants three years ago, M&S now sells more than 6,000 packs each week. Highly absorbent and specifically designed to be leak-proof, period pants replace the need for other period products.
Victoria McKenzie-Gould, corporate affairs director at M&S, said: “The Government made a brilliant start by removing VAT from disposable period products, but we need them to finish the job and level the playing field so that whatever period product someone chooses to use, it is VAT free. Nearly 25% of women cite cost as a barrier to using period pants* – if they were classified as they should be – as a period product – the Government can make this brilliant alternative to disposable products, a more cost-effective option for UK consumers.”
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