Scotland

Free sanitary products scheme expands in Scotland

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Free sanitary products will be available in more public places after the Scottish government committed another £4m to tackle period poverty.

Libraries and leisure centres are among venues that will have free products after they were offered in schools, colleges and universities last August.

The funding will be given to councils who will work with other organisations to meet local needs.

Funding for sanitary items is available now and for the next financial year.

'Suffer the indignity'

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell announced the money on a visit to a food centre that helps distribute sanitary products to people on low incomes in Glasgow.

She said: "In a society as rich as Scotland, no one should have to suffer the indignity of not having the means to meet their basic needs.

"We also want to continue to reduce the stigma and address the overarching gender equality and dignity issues that affect everyone who menstruates, regardless of their income."

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She was told by staff at Move On in the city of one woman who used the £7 a month she had saved from being able to access free sanitary products to pay for extra football training for her son.

She said: "This is about the juggling act that many women and families are having to do in life, and often it will be their needs that will go to the bottom of the pile.

"This is about breaking down barriers and enabling women to access sanitary products which are not a luxury product, they are a necessity for a very large part of a woman's life, and so to enable them to access that freely because of their own financial challenges is something that I think is important and is supporting women."

The move stems from a pilot project announced by the Scottish government in July 2017 that gave women and girls in low income households in Aberdeen free tampons and towels.

Its success saw an expansion of the project in May last year before the government dedicated £5.2m to offer free products to all pupils and students in Scotland in August.

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