This Is Why You’re Still Not Benefiting From The Tampon Tax Being Scrapped

Photographed by Meg O'Donnell
When the tampon tax was finally scrapped in January 2021, it should immediately have benefited people who menstruate. Ending the 5% VAT levy on sanitary products should have saved you an average of 7p on a pack of 20 tampons and 5p on a pack of 12 pads.
However, according to a new report, the lion's share of savings are not being passed down to consumers. The report published this week by Tax Policy Associates concluded that "at most, tampon prices were cut by around 1%, with the remaining 80% of the benefit retained by retailers".
The report added: "More likely, the retailers took all the benefit – amounting to £15m each year." Its authors also noted in their conclusion that "it is our hope that the power of the 'tampon tax' campaign means that public pressure will cause retailers and suppliers, at this late stage, to pass on the full benefit of the tampon tax abolition to consumers".
And that power is being mobilised now. Laura Coryton, who started the all-important 2014 petition to end the tampon tax, has launched a new petition titled "drop period prices in line with tampon tax ending".
She writes on her page: "In 2014, I started a petition to end tampon tax. Over 300,000 joined this campaign, arguing the tax was a symptom of sexism we felt had no place in today's world. In January 2021, the Government finally axed the tax, announced and celebrated by Rishi Sunak MP himself. Yet, 8 years later, we are still waiting to see any financial benefit."
"I'm angry because 300,000 people didn't sign my petition to make retailers richer," Coryton continues. "It's time for retailers to do the right thing and lower the prices of their period products to reflect the abolition of tampon tax and pass on the benefit to customers."
Given that period poverty is worsening during the cost-of-living crisis, retailers doing the right thing is more vital than ever. You can sign the petition here.