Image: P&G Image: P&G

The UK's big four supermarkets have pledged to pass on savings to female shoppers after the government scrapped the controversial 'tampon tax'.

According to the Guardian, the bosses of Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco wrote to Labour MP Paula Sherriff, who led the campaign to have the VAT tax abolished, saying they would all lower their prices to reflect the scrapping of the tax.

Waitrose and Boots have also pledged to do the same.

Following intense public and political backlash over the move, the Chancellor George Osborne had initially offered to give the estimated £15 million raised by the tax every year to women's charities. But following a decision by the European Commission allowing individual states to scrap VAT on sanitary products, the government dropped the tax altogether.

Morrisons’ head of policy and corporate affairs, David Scott, said: “This [reduction] is designed to directly benefit women and I am pleased to confirm that Morrisons will be passing the 5% reduction on to our customers when the relevant regulations come into force.”

Asda's senior director for corporate affairs, Chris Lowe, said the abolishing of the tax is something Walmart “has long campaigned for and was the top action our Asda mums said they would like the government to take."

News of the supermarkets' pledge has been labelled as a major win for the MP and her campaign after concerns that savings would not be passed on. France recently cut the VAT rate on sanitary products from 20% to 5.5%, but prices have stayed pretty much the same, prompting fears the same would be seen here in the UK.

Ms Sherriff said: “I’m delighted to have reached this agreement with Britain’s largest retailers that they will guarantee to pass on the tampon tax cut at the point of sale. It would be completely unacceptable if this measure just led to big businesses boosting their bottom line at the expense of women buying what are essential goods.

“I will be pressing some of the smaller chains to sign up to the same deal and for the manufacturers to recognise the cut in their recommended retail price.

“If for any reason we don’t get full agreement to this voluntary deal, I am prepared to push the case for the finance bill to include powers to impose a windfall tax in future.”