The infamous “tampon tax” has finally been abolished in the UK from yesterday, January 1 2021.

EU law requires that members place a 5% rate of VAT on sanitary products which are classed as non-essential items.

However, chancellor Rishi Sunak agreed to scrap the tax in his March Budget – taking effect when the UK has officially left the EU.

Activists claiming that the tax is “sexist” have been campaigning for the levy to be removed for 20 years.

Felicia Willow, chief exec of women's rights charity the Fawcett Society, said: "We warmly welcome the scrapping of VAT on all sanitary products from 1 January 2021 and congratulate the government on taking this positive step."

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Not paying the tax should save about £40 per menstruating person's lifetime

She continued: "It's been a long road to reach this point, but at last the sexist tax that saw sanitary products classed as non-essential, luxury items can be consigned to the history books."

Meanwhile, Laura Coryton has campaigned for six years to get the tax scrapped – including a petition which has more than 300,000 signatures.

Campaigners are thrilled by the announcement

She told the BBC : “I’m just so happy and relieved and excited at the same time for this tax to finally be axed.

"It will mean a reduction in prices for period products, and that reduction in cost will be important for the increasing number of people who are battling with poverty, especially due to the pandemic."

The Treasury estimates that the move will save the average person who uses sanitary wear around £40 over their lifetime.

Chancellor Sunak said: "I'm proud that we are today delivering on our promise to scrap the tampon tax.

"Sanitary products are essential so it's right that we do not charge VAT.

"We have already rolled out free sanitary products in schools, colleges and hospitals and this commitment takes us another step closer to making them available and affordable for all women."