'They're A Basic Necessity': Radiographers Urge For Bras To Be Exempt From VAT

<span class="copyright">Elizabeth Fernandez via Getty Images</span>
Elizabeth Fernandez via Getty Images

Diagnostic radiographers are set to argue today that VAT on bras disproportionately affects women and could even be considered discriminatory under the Equality Act.

Diagnostic radiographers carry out X-rays, MRI and CT scans, which can be used to identify the musculoskeletal problems caused by poorly fitted bras.

According to Sky News, the delegates will say today: “Those who are wearing a bra size D or above often get backaches, aching shoulders and neck pain, because of the weight of their breasts.

“Wearing a good-quality, well-fitted bra could alleviate some of these issues, and reduce time off sick for musculoskeletal issues.”

Currently only women who have had breast cancer surgery - whether a mastectomy, partial mastectomy or lumpectomy - are exempt from VAT when buying certain bras.

This follows the VAT on period pants being dropped in January

From the 1st January 2024, the government scrapped VAT on period pants after around 80 MPs, charities and retailers called on the government to scrap the VAT in August 2023.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Nigel Huddleston, said: “This is a victory for women across the UK and for the campaigners who’ve helped raise awareness of the growing importance of period pants.

“It’s only right that women and girls can find more affordable options for what has become an essential and environmentally friendly product.”

It’s hoped that this same logic will be applied to bras.

How to know if your bra size is correct

According to North Yorkshire Physiotherapy: “The straps account for just 20% of the support. The rest comes from the support underneath. This support needs to sit in a straight line across the upper back and be linked on by the final clips on the strap.

“The sliders on the straps over the shoulders should be over the top of the shoulder, just on the back.”

If you’re not sure of your bra size, you can visit M&S or Bravissimo for in-store fittings.