Bras are a basic necessity that should be exempt from VAT, radiographers say

Bras are a basic necessity and should not be subject to VAT, according to radiographers.

Diagnostic radiographers who carry out X-rays, MRI and CT scans, are set to argue later that the tax disproportionately affects women and could be considered discriminatory under the Equality Act.

They say musculoskeletal problems, which can lead to individuals having time off work, can be caused by poorly-fitted bras.

Proposing the motion on Tuesday during their three-day annual conference in Leeds, delegates will say: "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.

"The imposition of VAT on bras disproportionately affects women. Taxing bras could be considered discriminatory as per the Equality Act 2010."

According to data gathering website Statista, the average amount spent on a bra in the UK in 2020 was £15-30.

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

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But radiographers are expected to liken bras to menstrual products as a necessity, therefore meaning they should be excluded from the tax.

Back in January, VAT on period pants was dropped following a two-year campaign by brands, retailers, women's groups and environmentalists.

It followed the reverse of the so-called "tampon tax" in 2021 which meant other period products such as pads, tampons and menstrual cups were not taxed.