News

World leading action on period products

Published: 19 Feb 2020 15:47

Government to support principles of the Period Products Bill.

A set of immediate actions to further increase the availability of period products has been confirmed, as Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell announced support for the general principles of the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill.

Regulations will be brought forward to place a duty on local authorities to provide products in schools from the next academic year and the Scottish Government will work with clinicians to explore how people with medical issues such as endometriosis are able to access period products by prescription.

Other actions include:

  • supporting Hey Girls to develop a Locator App that helps people access free products
  • promoting wider period dignity through a certification scheme for the private sector
  • campaigning to remove the stigma surrounding periods through the current #TalkPeriods campaign
  • reviewing wider community access to ensure period products reach those who need them most

Ms Campbell said:

“Scotland was the first country in the world to make period products available for free in schools and colleges and to support access to period products for those on low incomes. Due to our world-leading action, over half a million people have access to free period products for the first time ever.

“We have never wanted to wait for legislation to do more. That is why we will take action now to embed existing provisions in schools in law. We will also explore how we can support people with medical issues such as endometriosis to access products.

“However, I can also confirm that the Scottish Government will give support to the general principles of the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill in the Stage 1 debate next week. We have significant and very real concerns about the practicality and deliverability of the Bill in its current form, which were reflected in the Local Government Committee’s Stage 1 report.

“However, as a signal of our good faith and in recognition of the broad consensus about general policy objectives, we will support the Bill at this stage. We will then seek to work with others in a genuine effort to reach agreement on amendments that will allay our concerns and enable us to lodge a robust Financial Resolution. I hope other parties will be prepared to enter into that work in the same constructive spirit that we will.

“Scotland is leading the world in improving period dignity and I am determined to continue that work in a way that will improve the lives of people across Scotland.”

Background
The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill, introduced by Monica Lennon MSP, would put in place a legal duty on Scottish Ministers to ensure that period products are made available free of charge on a universal basis; require education providers to make period products available free of charge in toilets and enable Scottish Ministers to place a duty on other specific public service bodies to provide free period products.

The Scottish Government estimates that the Bill as drafted, including a universal scheme could cost around £24 million per year to deliver.

Following the Stage 1 vote next week, work will be undertaken on amendments and revised costings for the bill to ensure it is deliverable prior to introduction of a financial resolution or further parliamentary scrutiny.