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Scotland poised to become first country to make period products freely available

Free sanitary products at Holyrood
Free sanitary products at Holyrood

Scotland could become the first country to make period products freely available if MSPs vote for new legislation later on Tuesday.

Holyrood will vote on the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill, which intends to introduce a legal right of free access to items such as tampons and sanitary pads in public buildings.

Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon has campaigned for the “world-leading” legislation to introduce free universal access to sanitary products.

Her member’s Bill has reached the final stage of becoming law with Scottish Government support, despite initial opposition and ministers arguing the cost could greatly exceed the estimated £9.7 million a year.

Speaking ahead of the vote, Ms Lennon said: “We are in the final miles of a long journey and I am heartened by the support for the Period Products Bill.

“I am optimistic that we will complete that groundbreaking journey today.

“Scotland will not be the last country to make period poverty history – but it now has a chance to be the first.

“This law will ensure no-one has to go without essential period products.”

© Andrew Maccoll/Shutterstock
Monica Lennon

She added: “Thanks to a bold grass roots campaign and cross-party support, Scotland has already taken great strides to improve access to period products.

“Legislation is a world-leading opportunity to secure period dignity for all women, girls and people who menstruate.

“The campaign has been backed by a wide coalition, including trades unions, women’s organisations and charities.

“Thousands of supporters have played a part, including people who shared their experiences of period poverty, and I am grateful to them all.”