Tesco to cover cost of 'tampon tax' for customers

Tesco is cutting the price of women's sanitary products so their customers will not be impacted by VAT.

The UK’s biggest supermarket announced the 5% price reduction today ahead of government proposals to remove value added tax on such products – dubbed by critics as the "tampon tax". 

The initiative, spearheaded by its ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty London, will apply to nearly 100 Tesco own-label and branded products.

Tesco, alongside other major supermarkets and Boots, had previously committed to passing on the 5% saving to customers when the government's proposed removal of VAT came into force.

However, Tesco is the first retailer to proactively cut prices so as to negate the impact of the tax.

BBH has created a 30-second film, which will be shown in-store and online, to promote the initiative. It was created and directed by Laura McGovern and Sarah Watson through BBH’s in-house production unit Black Sheep Studios.

In October 2015 the government said it would seek a change in European Union law to allow any rate of VAT to be applied to sanitary protection, as part of a review of EU VAT rates to be undertaken by the European Commission in 2016.

However, following last year’s Brexit vote, the UK may soon have the option to cut VAT on women’s sanitary products outside of the EU.

In March Brexit secretary David Davis said cutting the tax will be "one of the first things" he raises with the chancellor of the exchequer if the UK leaves the EU.

Michelle McEttrick, group brand director at Tesco, said today: "For many of our customers, tampons and sanitary towels are essential products. However, the cost of buying them every month can add up, and for many women and girls it can be a real struggle on top of other essential items."