The so-called tampon tax could be abolished after British officials reached an agreement with EU leaders.
All sanitary products in the UK are taxed at 5%, compared with the general VAT rate of 20%. But more than 300,000 people have signed a petition demanding it be reduced to 0%.
Under current EU rules, all member states must agree before any country is allowed to introduce a VAT exemption.
At a European Council meeting in Brussels last week, leaders of the EU’s 28 states agreed to relax the current rules on setting VAT.
This would allow the UK, as well as other European member states, to remove VAT on products as they wish.
Chancellor George Osborne said the government had “heard people’s anger over paying the tampon tax loud and clear.” It has been distributing the 5% tax to women’s charities.
Labour MP Laura Sherriff, who tabled the original bill demanding sanitary products have 0% VAT, said the items were “not a luxury”.
The news sparked comments on Twitter, with many hailing the decision as common sense and long overdue;
No more #TamponTax! About bloody time. (See what I did there?)
— Rachel Gerrish (@RLGerrish) March 17, 2016
Some used the opportunity, however, for more political ends;
— Douglas Carswell MP (@DouglasCarswell) March 21, 2016
Following the Brussels summit, the European Commission said it was “working on two options” that would give member states more flexibility over their own VAT rules.
It is due to publish its “Action Plan” on VAT on March 23.
Edited by Max Burnell