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by Tom Freeman
24 April 2019
Monica Lennon launches her period poverty bill

Monica Lennon - Kate Shannon/Holyrood

Monica Lennon launches her period poverty bill

Labour MSP Monica Lennon has launched her member’s bill to increase the amount of free access to sanitary products by making them available in all schools, colleges and universities.

The bid follows pilots by the Scottish Government and would make the provision a legal requirement.

Lennon called for MSPs of other parties to put their name to the bill.

She said universal provision would be a step towards a “more equitable society”.

“Scotland has a chance to be a world leader by passing my member's bill and creating a universal system of free access to period products,” she said.

“Across the UK, grass roots campaigners have already delivered significant change on period poverty. It's now time for Scotland to put access on a legal footing, lead the rest of the UK and the world.”

The issue has also been the focus of campaigning by a number of leading SNP politicians including Gillian Martin, and the success of Lennon’s bill may depend on whether they are willing to back a Labour MSP’s member’s bill. Martin is thought to back it.

In 2017 the Scottish Government launched a pilot that gave women and girls in low income households in Aberdeen free tampons and towels and in January this was rolled out with £4m funding.

Launching the rollout, Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: "In a society as rich as Scotland, no one should have to suffer the indignity of not having the means to meet their basic needs.

"We also want to continue to reduce the stigma and address the overarching gender equality and dignity issues that affect everyone who menstruates, regardless of their income."

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