Period pants are expected to be up to 16% cheaper after taxes on the product were scrapped.
The change was announced by chancellor Jeremy Hunt in his Autumn Statement in 2023, and came into force on January 1, 2024.
It follows the end of the tampon tax in January 2021, and is expected to save users up to £2 on average.
Around 80 MPs, charities and retailers called on the government to scrap the VAT in August 2023.
Financial secretary to the treasury, Nigel Huddleston, said: “This is a victory for women across the UK and for the campaigners who’ve helped raise awareness of the growing importance of period pants.
“It’s only right that women and girls can find more affordable options for what has become an essential and environmentally friendly product.”
What are period pants?
Period pants work in the same way as sanitary pads, but do not have to be thrown away after each use – they are considered to be more environmentally friendly and convenient.
They’re worn exactly the same way as everyday underwear, but without the need for additional period products like tampons or menstrual cups.
People with sensory issues who find conventional period products difficult to use also benefit from period pants becoming more affordable.
The market for period underwear has expanded over the last few years and they are now believed to be a mainstream choice.
‘Say Pants to the Tax’
Marks & Spencer, women’s groups and environmentalists led the “Say Pants to the Tax” campaign, which called to scrap the VAT.
Victoria McKenzie-Gould, corporate affairs director at Marks & Spencer, said: “Paying tax on period pants was a bum deal for women everywhere so we’re thrilled that the Treasury has done the right thing by axing the tax and levelling the playing field on period products for good.
“Nearly 25% of women cite cost as a barrier to using period pants so we know the new legislation that comes into effect from today will make a big difference to women’s budgets across the UK.
“A big thank you to WUKA, the tens of thousands of individuals, politicians, brand and retailers, who threw their weight behind our campaign – Say Pants to the Tax – and of course a big thank you to the Chancellor and HM Treasury team who made the change we were campaigning for a reality.”
The savings for women are subject to the VAT cut being passed on, with the army of retailers behind the campaign pledging themselves to play their part to pass on the 20% VAT cut.
Laura Coryton, tampon tax campaigner and founder of social enterprise Sex Ed Matters, said: “Ending the tax on period underwear will make a huge difference, particularly given skyrocketing levels of period poverty across the UK.
“It will also help to tackle the stigma associated with periods, which stops at least 10% of girls going to school every month.
“Now, it is important for retailers to pass savings on to consumers, not only in relation to period underwear, but all period products.”
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