Girlguiding critical of Scottish Government period poverty policy

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Free products won't be available to all 

9th January 2020 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Girlguiding Scotland has criticised the Scottish Government for failing to provide free provision of period products.

Labour MSP Monica Lennon proposed a bill which would give all women access to free period products but Scottish Government mnister Eileen Campbell said legislation was not required.

Girlguiding Scotland said: "We believe making free period products easily available to everyone who needs them will not only create economic benefits to individuals and families, but will also support girls and young women's participation in education and extracurricular activities, and help to end the stigma around periods.

"Creating a legal right to access period products is vital to ensure the progress already made in this area is built upon and that future governments cannot undo the welcome work that has already been undertaken."

It also urged ministers to reconsider, and called on MSPs to back a bill which would "help to create a more gender equal future".

Currently the Scottish Government makes free period products available through secondary and primary schools across Scotland and in all 19 universities and 26 colleges.

However Campbell said making products available to all could cost in excess of an extra £26m.

She said: "We do believe we are beginning to see a culture change and there is a risk that introducing legislation now would encourage people to meet only minimum standard, compared to what we are seeing in the public, private and third sectors, where organisations are going above and beyond."

Lennon said the lack of government support was "deeply disappointing".

She said: "This is a U-turn on SNP policy that I hope will be reconsidered.

"Many women and girls are still being referred to food banks and charities to get the period products they need despite the welcome action from the Scottish government to introduce free provision in schools and other community settings.

"Others are falling through the gaps and continue to experience period poverty."