Progress on access to sanitary products for low income families

Central Scotland MSP Monica Lennon has welcomed progress in her campaign to persuade the SNP to examine providing free sanitary products for low income families.

Following questions from Mrs Lennon, Public Health minister Aileen Campbell agreed to meet with charities to explore options to help women and girls who struggle to pay for vital feminine hygiene products. The move follows controversial remarks from SNP Health Secretary Shona Robison who admitted the SNP government had commissioned no specific work to analyse the impact of sanitary products on household budgets and suggested that low income families turn to food banks for sanitary products.

Research has shown that the average woman uses around 12,000 feminine hygiene products in their lifetime and failing to change them regularly has been linked to life-threatening toxic shock syndrome. Monica Lennon has also tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament seeking cross party support and a debate on the issue in the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish Labour Inequalities spokesperson Monica Lennon said:

“The cost of these products is clearly significant and if a household already has financial pressures then access to feminine hygiene products can be a big problem.

Charities Engender, Barnardo’s and Scottish Women’s Aid have told me that access to feminine hygiene products is an ongoing issue for women and girls in poverty. So, I am pleased that the Scottish Government has now recognised that work has to be done to look at the cost of periods to women and girls and the impact on their health.

I will continue to work with local and national charities and women’s organisations to highlight their concerns. I intend to ensure that this issue remains high on the political agenda and I am seeking a members’ debate.”

Lynne O’Brien, Assistant Director Children’s Services, Barnardo’s Scotland said:

“Our services have, in the past, made feminine hygiene products available to women and girls on low incomes because affordability can be an issue for them. We would therefore welcome further exploration of the cost and affordability of feminine hygiene products in order to formulate a clearer picture of the impact this has on women and girls in Scotland.”

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8 thoughts on “Progress on access to sanitary products for low income families

  1. Is the fact that the Scottish Govt (or any Govt for that matter) does not have a policy on absolutely every little detail of everyday life really “controversial”?

  2. Why on earth would this be the responsibility of central government? What central government anywhere in the world does this? None.
    We are to see a reduction in Scotland’s block grant of some 6-10% over the next few years. Is this another Labour spending commitment, on top of all the others?
    What next? Toothpaste? condoms? Sun screen? Free SKY telly for all?

    The fight should be for a decent basic income for all people, not adding more and more hurdles and layers onto an already overly complex system, where we are all aware of some people having scammed money out of the system over the years.
    Simplicity would be to the benefit of us all, not more add-ons.

  3. Of course it isn’t really free at all. It comes with a package. A package inclusive of 1p on income tax an undisclosed amount of added council tax guaranteed to increase every year for at least 4 years. No cut in APD, means tested benefits, tuition fees of at least 6K per term, further privatisation of the NHS via PFI PPP and war with at least another 2 countries we aint already at war with.

    Hope the sanitary products arrive before this lot does.

  4. Sorry lads, but this is a subject that needs discussing and addressing for women in low income family’s. Feminine products are an unavoidable expense for a low income family, for the women’s health and simply peace of mind.

    Women should never be put in such a position as to chose between their health and putting food on the table, and as women get older their can be a greater expense and risk to health without access to such products.

    I had to deal with these sanitary products working as a hygiene manger in a number of factory’s it was part of my responsibility’s, and it was quite an eye opener for a man.

    The vast majority of men do not have a clue about this subject, perhaps the next time you drop by the supermarket take a check on the prices of these products, and remember how much that is out of a low wage.

    note; the last time I put a bag of goods to our local food bank, I included tooth paste and brushes plus bars of soap. I thought if you can’t afford food you cant afford those items either, but we all need them.

  5. Then the solution is a decent basic income for all, not this poverty patronage, redolent of “the rich man in his castle, the poor man at the gate”.

    Labour seems to have forgotten what it used to believe in. Too mired in its middle class angst nowadays.
    The way out of poverty is money, not “foodstamp relief”.

    1. “GAVIN”, I totally agree but this situation does not have a light switch solution. until Scotland has total control of its finances and is independent of the rest of the UK, we are not in a position to ensure our people have enough money to meet all their needs at the lower end of our society.

      The unionist parties would far rather keep our citizen’s ill-informed and lacking in income, it suits their political agenda. But the consequences can be dire for those on a low income, and having to use much needed income for sanitary products leaves the women in those households with an unnecessary choice of their health or other necessary needs.

      I do not believe that support in this area would break the bank.

      1. There is nothing wrong with the idea in itself the problem its like I said previously it comes as part of an overall political package.
        Its the Free gift that comes only with the massive spending commitment.
        In order to get you “Free” sanitary products you have to pay an extra 1p on your income tax and God knows how much more on your council tax as well as 6k per term for university tuition Fees and fees for private medicine not to mention the chance of losing a family member to war.

        Labour want to divert attention away from their ideology by waving shiny beads in our face.

        “I do not believe that support in this area would break the bank.”

        It would break the bank of a tight and measured budget though.

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