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Scottish Labour presses for free period products

LABOUR today told SNP and Tory MSPs to drop opposition to its proposals on ending period poverty.

Labour MSP Monica Lennon renewed calls for support for a new law which could give half a million people in Scotland access to free period products. 

The member’s Bill was rejected by a Holyrood committee last week due to SNP and Tory opposition, while Labour and Green MSPs voted in favour of the plan.

Local government and communities committee members who voted against the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill said that there was “no clarity” on the cost.

Ms Lennon estimated the total to be £9.7 million a year, but the Scottish government argued that it could reach £24 million.

Ministers say that they have already invested £15 million in making sanitary towels and tampons available for free and in tackling the stigma surrounding periods.

Communities secretary Aileen Campbell said that the government was “committed to making sure our work is reaching everyone it should.”

“The work we are doing in Scotland is world-leading and I am delighted we are now reaching up to 500,000 women and girls,” she said.

“The breadth and reach of what is happening here is not replicated anywhere else in the world.”

But Ms Lennon said that period products were essentials that should not be treated as “luxuries.” 

She said: “[This] legislation is the next progressive step we should be taking to make Scotland an unequivocal world leader on gender equality.

“My Bill will guarantee that free period products in schools, colleges and universities continue and that no one ever has to struggle during their period.”

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