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HomeHealth NewsBras essential for women's health, radiographers urge VAT exemption

Bras essential for women’s health, radiographers urge VAT exemption

  • Radiographers demand VAT exemption for bras, crucial for women’s health
  • They argue VAT on bras could be discriminatory under Equality Act
  • Ill-fitting bras can cause musculoskeletal issues; VAT may deter purchases

Radiographers argue that bras ought to be exempt from VAT as they are vital to women’s health.

Delegates at the Society of Radiographers’ annual conference will demand that the Treasury eliminate the tax, arguing that it discriminates against women disproportionately and could be deemed so under the Equality Act.

By utilising X-rays, MRI scans, and CT scans, diagnostic radiographers can identify the musculoskeletal issues brought on by ill-fitting undergarments.

Delegates will propose the following motion at the three-day conference in Leeds: “Women are disproportionately affected by the imposition of VAT on bras.”

Taxing undergarments may constitute discrimination in violation of the Equality Act of 2010.

Although wearing a bra may not directly cause any health complications, it may contribute to specific musculoskeletal issues, especially in the case of larger cup sizes.

Individuals who wear bras of size D or larger frequently experience shoulder and neck pain, backaches, and discomfort due to the burdensome weight of their breasts.

Donning an adequately fitted, high-quality bra could mitigate some of these concerns and decrease the duration of absences due to musculoskeletal ailments.

Women who experience breast pain are advised to “wear a properly fitted bra during the day and a soft bra to sleep in,” according to the NHS website.

Additionally, the Chartered Society for Physiotherapy recommends that women wear a bra of the appropriate size to ensure optimal support, aesthetic appeal, and prevention of avoidable distress.

It is critical to determine your bra size annually and adjust accordingly.

“A professional bra fitting service is available in at least one department store.” Leverage the assistance of these services in your search for the ideal bra.

Actively ensuring that you exercise while wearing the appropriate bra for your size and shape will assist you in looking fantastic and maintaining good postural health.

As a necessity, delegates at the SoR conference will compare bras to reproductive products; thus, bras should not be subject to VAT.

A two-year campaign initiated in January by brands, retailers, women’s organisations, and environmentalists eliminated the value-added tax (VAT) on period trousers. This campaign commenced in 2021 and culminated in removing the ‘tampon tax’ from menstrual cups, pads, and tampons.

Period trousers were classified as garments intended to be worn instead of tampons and sanitary towels, so they remained subject to a 20% tariff.

Specific undergarments purchased by women who have undergone breast cancer surgery (mastectomy, partial mastectomy, lumpectomy) are exempt from VAT.

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A leading authority on breast biomechanics and health at the University of Portsmouth, Professor Joanna Wakefield-Scurr, remarked that the proposition is excellent, citing that some sports bras now cost over £100.

Additionally, in athletic situations where the G forces acting on the breasts can be greater than those encountered by an F1 driver, it is even more critical that women wear appropriate breast support daily to safeguard the health of their breasts, she continued.

“I believe that the increased price of bras after the addition of VAT may discourage women from purchasing suitable bras and replacing them regularly.” VAT, the third highest tax in the United Kingdom, is projected to generate £176 billion in 2024/25.

Since the EU referendum, the government has received over £50 billion in petitions for VAT relief.

A spokesperson for HM Treasury stated, “While women undergoing breast cancer surgery already have an exemption from VAT on the bras they wear, the VAT does apply to the majority of goods and services that provide funding for the nation’s public services.”

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