Petition Recognize period underwear as a menstrual product and remove the 20%VAT on them

The Government announced there will be no VAT on women's menstrual products from Jan 2021 but failed to acknowledge reusable period pants as menstrual products. This creates an unfair playing field for consumers who want to use sustainable period products We want the Government to remove 20% VAT.

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Here are 4 reasons:
- Period pants are specifically designed to absorb menstrual blood and prevent leaks, just like others
- They provide an eco-friendly and sustainable option to traditional menstrual products, as they are reusable and reduce waste.
- Recognizing period pants as menstrual products would make them more accessible and affordable, as they would be eligible for the same tax exemptions and subsidies as other menstrual products
- Periods are not a luxury and women should not pay to bleed.

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Government responded

This response was given on 24 August 2023

The Government introduced a VAT zero rate on 1 January 2021, on sanitary products previously subject to a rate of 5 per cent. Period pants are not in this group, but we keep all taxes under review.

We are committed to making sanitary products affordable and available to all who need them. That is why we have delivered on our promise to scrap the tampon tax so that VAT is no longer charged on sanitary products, such as pads, tampons and some reusable menstrual products.

The zero rate that came into force on 1 January 2021 specifically applies to the products which were previously subject to the reduced rate of 5 per cent. This group does not include period pants, but it does include reusable menstrual products, such as menstrual cups, to provide greater choice and more sustainable options for those who use sanitary products.

Exclusions are designed to ensure that reliefs are properly targeted. Under existing rules period pants may already qualify for the zero rate, if they meet the sizing criteria, and are held out for sale specifically for use by girls under the age of 14 years old. Details are provided in VAT Notice 714: zero-rating young children's clothing and footwear, which is at this link:

Notwithstanding the above, the Government keeps all taxes under review and welcomes representations to help inform future decisions on tax policy, as part of the tax policy making cycle and Budget process.

HM Treasury

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