Free sanitary products for low-income women in Aberdeen pilot
Monica Lennon hails progress in tackling period poverty after Scottish Government announces Aberdeen scheme
A scheme to give women on low incomes free sanitary products has been launched in Aberdeen.
The six-month pilot will run in seven areas of regeneration across the city, helping over 1,000 women who have been impacted by the benefit cap and who find basic sanitary products cost-prohibitive.
The pilot will be run by Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE), a social enterprise focused on improving health and wellbeing for those in poverty.
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The Scottish Government said the scheme will inform national approaches in the future.
Announcing £42,500 funding toward the project, Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said: “It is unacceptable that any woman or girl in Scotland should be unable to access sanitary products.
“That is why, as part of our wider aims to eradicate poverty from our country, we are exploring how to make products freely available to low-income groups.”
Holyrood understands SNP member Julie Hepburn raised the idea of a scheme to allow access to sanitary products at SNP national council last year.
The move also comes after the ‘period poverty’ campaign was launched by Scottish Labour’s equalities spokesperson Monica Lennon shortly after she was elected to the Scottish Parliament.
Lennon hosted a roundtable on the subject in March and is preparing a member’s bill for universal free sanitary products.
“I'm pleased the campaign I have started as an opposition MSP has pushed SNP ministers to act, but the reality is that women and girls urgently need national action now,” she said.
“A pilot scheme is a welcome step in the right direction, but we must go much further to help women and girls across the country who are facing a monthly struggle to access the products they need.
“After relentless austerity over the last few years from both the Tories and the SNP, there are too many women and girls in Scotland who are unable to afford essential sanitary products during menstruation due to poverty.
“We need to end period poverty and improve access to sanitary products right across Scotland and that’s why I will soon be launching a consultation on a Member's Bill proposal which will give all women in Scotland the right to access these products for free, regardless of their income.”
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