Scotland on course for period products 'world first'

MSPs expected to back landmark bill this afternoon, building on previous scheme which made period products free to students

Tes Reporter

Scotland on course for period products 'world-first'

Legislation for Scotland to become the first country in the world to make period products freely available to all is expected to pass its first hurdle at the Scottish Parliament this afternoon.

MSPs from all parties are expected to endorse the general principles of a member's bill from Labour's Monica Lennon, which builds on a previous initiative that made period products free to girls and young women in school, college or university.

It comes after a U-turn from the Scottish government, which announced last week it would back the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill in today's vote.

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Communities secretary Aileen Campbell said ministers still had "concerns" about the proposed legislation and would be working with Ms Lennon to produce more "robust" figures about the costs.

The Labour MSP had originally estimated that the bill – which would introduce a legal right of access to free products such as tampons and sanitary pads – would cost £9.7 million a year.

The Scottish government estimated that the annual bill would be substantially higher, at £24 million.

Ahead of the debate, groups that have supported the legislation, including Girlguiding Scotland and the trade union Unite, were staging a rally outside Holyrood.

The Scottish government had already rolled out a scheme offering free sanitary products in Scotland's schools, colleges and universities in August 2018 to help tackle "period poverty", describing that initiative as a world first.

In January, a study found that more than eight in 10 girls and young women who accessed free period products in Scotland said it had had a positive impact on them, according to a new study.

Research from Young Scot found that 65 per cent of young women and girls in Scotland received free period products from their school, college or university in the past year.

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