Members of the Scottish parliament in Holyrood have backed plans to offer free sanitary products to women and girls across Scotland.
MSPs from across all political parties gave their support to the Period Products Bill, which has been put forward by the Labour Party’s Monica Lennon.
There are still some concerns among parliamentarians about how the plans outlined in the draft legislation will be implemented and paid for but lobbyists for free sanitary products have welcomed their initial support as a major step forward for their campaign.
Indeed, the recent progress in Holyrood has been called ground-breaking, with Scotland seemingly on track to become the first country in the world to introduce such radical measures to tackle period poverty.
Awareness around the issue of period poverty has been rising in recent years with more and more people in Scotland and across the UK relying on food banks and a growing number of women and girls struggling to pay for basic sanitary products.
Plans to introduce period poverty laws in Scotland have been in the works for the past few years but are now getting close to being fully enacted, with the Scottish National Party (SNP) having recently decided to support the relevant legislation.
Ms Lennon, who proposed the Period Products Bill, recently described the SNP’s support for her plans as being “a victory for all the campaigners and activists who have backed this legislation”.
If they do become law then the plans will mean that the Scottish government has a legal obligation to establish mechanisms that make sanitary products free to women and girls throughout the country.
Schools, colleges and universities, and probably other public service bodies as well, would always need to make tampons and sanitary towels available for free if the legislation becomes law.
Ms Lennon has said she’s thrilled to have widespread backing for her legislation among MSPs but also “from right across civic Scotland, from girl guides, trade unions, anti-poverty charities and many individuals who have had their own lived experience of period poverty”.
She said that she would work on a cross-party basis to ensure that her proposals are deliverable but insisted that “access to period products should be a right and available to all”.
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The food bank operator Trussell Trust has published a new report highlighting the extent to which the UK is experiencing an ongoing poverty crisis.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has published a new report outlining the extent of the financial and debt-related challenges that many thousands of people are facing in Scotland and across the UK.
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