Social Justice

Scottish ministers back bill to make right to free period products law

Labour's Monica Lennon called the SNP's change of heart "a victory"

In a surprise climbdown, the Scottish Government will back a ground-breaking bill giving everyone a legal right to free period products.

Labour MSP Monica Lennon has long campaigned for period provision to be made universal in a bid to reduce poverty and tackle the stigma around periods.

Despite previously opposing the bill in favour of period poverty-busting measures which are already in place, the SNP said last week they would support the bill at its February 25 stage one vote. Ministers will seek amendments at a later stage.

The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill attracted cross-party support including from SNP activists who pressured politicians to get behind the legislation.

Lennon said: “Scotland has already taken important steps towards improving access to period products and tackling stigma.

“Legislation will guarantee rights, ensure that current initiatives continue in future on a universal basis, and will help us achieve period dignity for all.”

Grassroots campaigners are also making headway in England and Wales, where schools recently started offering free pads and tampons and an increasing number of football clubs are making them freely available in their facilities.

The Scottish Government will also work with friends of The Big Issue and period dignity champions Hey Girls to develop a locator app helping people access free products.

This news follows last week’s launch of our first-of-its-kind special issue devoted to smashing period poverty, created in collaboration with the social enterprise, featuring contributions from social enterprise champion Caitlin Moran and #Pads4Dads campaigner Michael Sheen.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
DWP under investigation over treatment of ill and disabled people after deaths of benefit claimants
Department for Work and Pensions

DWP under investigation over treatment of ill and disabled people after deaths of benefit claimants

Is the cost of living crisis over and will prices in the UK ever come down?
Cost of living crisis

Is the cost of living crisis over and will prices in the UK ever come down?

Low pay as a trainee bus driver left me desperate. I skipped meals and ended up £46k in debt
james rossi, who faced debt
Cost of living

Low pay as a trainee bus driver left me desperate. I skipped meals and ended up £46k in debt

DWP ramps up AI use to 'bring the future to the welfare system' and push people into work
dwp mel stride
Department for Work and Pensions

DWP ramps up AI use to 'bring the future to the welfare system' and push people into work

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know