Scotland to become first country in world to provide free period products

September 27, 2022
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On Monday, when the Period Products Act comes into force, councils and education providers in Scotland will be legally required to ensure free sanitary products are available to anyone who needs them.

The legislation, which was originally proposed by Labour MSP Monica Lennon, was unanimously approved by the Scottish Parliament back in 2020.

Ms Lennon has been campaigning to end period poverty since 2016 and has previously described the bill as both “practical” and “progressive”.

“I’m proud to have pioneered the Period Products Act which is already influencing positive change in Scotland and around the world,” she said.

“Local authorities and partner organisations have worked hard to make the legal right to access free period products a reality.

“I’m grateful to them and the thousands of people who have got involved across the country.

“This is another big milestone for period dignity campaigners and grassroots movements which shows the difference that progressive and bold political choices can make.

“As the cost-of-living crisis takes hold, the Period Products Act is a beacon of hope which shows what can be achieved when politicians come together for the good of the people we serve.”

Scotland’s councils will each decide what exact arrangements are put in place, but they will have a legal obligation to give “anyone who needs them” access to a range of period products “reasonably easily”.

At present tampons, pads and some reusable products are funded in schools, colleges and universities in Scotland.

Since 2017, around £27m has been spent to provide access in public settings.

Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said providing access to free period products “is fundamental to equality and dignity, and removes the financial barriers to accessing them”.

“This is more important than ever at a time when people are making difficult choices due to the cost of living crisis and we never want anyone to be in a position where they cannot access period products,” Ms Robison said.

“Since 2018, we have delivered ground-breaking action by providing free period products for pupils and students in all our schools, colleges and universities.”

She added: “We are proud to be the first national government in the world to take such action.”

Free period products were rolled out in all primary and secondary schools in England in early 2020.

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