Scotland close to providing free sanitary products to all following new legislation

26 February 2020, 17:09

Scotland will make history if the legislation is passed
Scotland will make history if the legislation is passed. Picture: PA

The groundbreaking change would be a global first and Scotland looks close to making the huge change.

Scotland are set to become the first country in the world that offers free sanitary products for all, if a new legislation is passed.

Today, MSPs will vote on groundbreaking legislation, and if it is passed - which is likely - the Period Products Bill would allow all sanitary products such as tampons and sanitary pads to be accessible for free.

READ MORE: Teenagers can now buy period-proof swimwear and they will prevent many embarrasing situations

Scottish campaigners have been pushing for the bill for years
Scottish campaigners have been pushing for the bill for years. Picture: PA

It would be a huge global move and would mean so much to the hundreds of thousands who struggle to afford the necessary items that are still taxed as 'luxury' items at the moment.

The Period Products Bill was first proposed back in 2017 by the Labour Party's Monica Lennon, in a bid to tackle period poverty, which affects a huge proportion of the country.

This bill is finally set to pass the first legal checkpoint at Holyrood today as the MSPs from all Scottish parties are endorsing it.

Sanitary products are expensive and no country in the world offers them free to all
Sanitary products are expensive and no country in the world offers them free to all. Picture: PA

The incredible wave of approval is complete U-turn in attitudes from the Scottish Government, which only announced last week it'd be backing the bill and the 'end period poverty' movement.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell has highlighted however that ministers still had “concerns” about the legislation and the cost.

She added that they would work with Ms Lennon to produce more “robust” figures for the proposed plans. 

Ms Lennon originally estimated the bill would cost around £9.7 million a year to the government.

Period poverty needs to end
Period poverty needs to end. Picture: PA

But the government has estimated the annual bill to the taxpayer would be substantially higher, at around £24 million. 

Ahead of the debate, groups including Girlguiding Scotland and the trade union Unite have supported the legislation, Over 25 per cent of women in England, Scotland and Wales have missed work or school because they could not afford to buy menstrual products.

At the moment, schools in Wales and England offer the free products to primary and secondary student, which ensures pupils don't miss lessons due to their period.