Tesco recently became the first supermarket in the UK to cut the cost of the tampon tax from the retail price of its sanitary products. And now, Waitrose has followed suit.
The upscale supermarket chain announced this week that it has reduced the price of tampons, pads and other sanitary products by 5% – the cost of the VAT dubbed the ‘tampon tax’.
The price cut applies to almost 100 products sold in Waitrose stores and online, including branded and own-brand items.
“By covering the VAT cost and reducing the price by 5%, we are confident it will make a difference to our customers,” says Michael Andrews, Waitrose’s Director of Buying – Ambient and General Merchandise.
On Twitter, the response to Waitrose’s announcement was positive – with one user showing that the price cut had already been implemented.
Legislation to eliminate the controversial VAT on sanitary products is expected to come into effect in April 2018.
Until then, all the revenue from the tampon tax is being donated to women’s charities. This policy, announced in 2015 by former chancellor George Osborne, has always been controversial. Many were reluctant to praise the Government for redirecting the tampon tax to refuges and other essential domestic violence services, given that these very services have been decimated in recent years by funding cuts.
However, the initiative faced even more criticism when it emerged that the government intended to donate £250,000 of tampon tax money to Life, a charity that campaigns against abortion. When contacted recently by Stylist.co.uk, a spokesperson for Life confirmed that this payment is still set to go ahead.
“As far as we know the grant was not stopped and is currently is process,” said Mark Bhagwandin, senior education and media officer at Life.
Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda and Boots have all promised that they will pass on the 5% savings to customers when the tampon tax is eventually abolished next year.
Given the positive press that Tesco and Waitrose have received for their decisions to foot the bill, however, we may well see other supermarkets deciding to cut the tampon tax early. Fingers crossed…
Main image: iStock