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Tesco has become the first UK retailer to cut the tampon tax itself


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Tesco has announced that it will absorb the ‘tampon tax’ on sanitary items, cutting prices for customers by 5%.

Sanitary products are currently classed as ‘luxury’ rather than ‘essential’ goods by the EU, and as such are taxed at 5% VAT. European ministers last year agreed to change the rules to scrap the tax, but the earliest a new law could come into force would be 2018.

Rather than wait for an end to the tampon tax, Tesco has become the first UK retailer to cut prices and shoulder the burden of the tax itself. This move could save women and users of sanitary wear hundreds of pounds across their lifetimes.

Tesco group brand director Michelle McEttrick 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.”

The price cut will affect both branded and own-label products.

The government has promised that until the tampon tax is scrapped, revenue will be spent on women’s charities. This decision was met with backlash last year as many claimed that supporting women’s charities should be a burden carried by the whole of society, rather than just women.

Paula Sheriff, the Labour MP at the fore of the campaign against the tampon tax, praised Tesco’s decision and called on other supermarkets to follow its example. “It would have been completely unacceptable if abolishing the tampon tax had just led to big businesses boosting their bottom line at the expense of women buying what are essential goods,” she said.

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