Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Tax on women's sanitary products abolished
1 January 2021, 09:39
VAT on women's sanitary products has been slashed to zero bringing an end to the so-called 'tampon tax'.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak had committed to ending the widely unpopular tax on tampons and pads in the March Budget.
EU law had prevented member states from reducing the rate below 5%, which meant the period products were treated as luxury items and not essentials.
But the zero rate VAT on the period products started on January 1, the first day the laws no longer apply to the UK.
Mr Sunak said: "I'm proud that we are today delivering on our promise to scrap the tampon tax. Sanitary products are essential so it's right that we do not charge VAT.
"We have already rolled out free sanitary products in schools, colleges and hospitals and this commitment takes us another step closer to making them available and affordable for all women."
The Treasury previously estimated the move will save the average woman nearly £40 over her lifetime, with a cut of 7p on a pack of 20 tampons and 5p on 12 pads.
Felicia Willow, chief executive of women's rights charity the Fawcett Society, said: "We warmly welcome the scrapping of VAT on all sanitary products from January 1 2021 and congratulate the Government on taking this positive step.
"It's been a long road to reach this point, but at last the sexist tax that saw sanitary products classed as non-essential, luxury items can be consigned to the history books."