Period Poverty

– in the Scottish Parliament on 25th April 2019.

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Photo of Monica Lennon Monica Lennon Labour

This week, I introduced my member’s bill on the provision of free period products. If passed, the bill will make Scotland a world leader, giving legal underpinning to the provision in schools, colleges and universities that has already been rolled out and going further by establishing a universal opt-in system to allow anyone in Scotland to access free period products, should they need them.

I know that the First Minister agrees that access to period products should be a right and not a privilege. Building on the strong cross-party consensus that exists, will the First Minister confirm today whether she backs my bill and will the Scottish Government enthusiastically get behind the proposals?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

We will certainly look very carefully at the provisions of the bill. In terms of what the bill is trying to achieve, I am 100 per cent behind that. I pay tribute to all those who have campaigned on the issue. Scotland is already a world leader in tackling period poverty. We already have free sanitary products available in schools, colleges and universities and a growing number of private sector organisations are following suit.

While Monica Lennon is to be commended for introducing the bill, we should not wait for legislation to encourage all organisations and companies to do what we have already done in Government—lead from the front and ensure that no person has to go without sanitary products that they cannot afford. Free access should be the norm everywhere in Scotland.