LABOUR has vowed to end period poverty if it comes to power by giving out free sanitary products to schools, foodbanks and homeless shelters.
Shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler launched the campaign at the Labour Women’s Conference on Saturday, arguing that if men had periods, the issue would have been “resolved a long time ago.”
Women spend around £5,000 during their lifetimes on sanitary items. Even though Tony Blair’s government reduced the VAT on these items from 17.5 to 5 per cent, the party “could have done better,” Ms Butler said.
The campaign follows shocking revelations that pupils in a secondary school in Leeds were missing school because they couldn’t afford sanitary products and were having to resort to using toilet paper and even socks.
“Low-income families shouldn’t have the additional burden of struggling to afford sanitary products, or homeless women suffering on the streets, or young girls having to use socks in their pants, or missing school once a month because they just can’t afford sanitary protection,” Ms Butler blasted.
“There are many solutions to this problem including free sanitary products in schools and colleges and free prescriptions for sanitary protection or reusable cups.
“With all of our efforts, we could eradicate the problem in our lifetime. If men had periods, this would have been resolved a long time ago.”
Ms Butler plans to work with Labour MSP Monica Lennon who last month tabled a draft proposal for legislation on the matter which is in the consultation stage until December.
Addressing the women’s conference, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Labour is the “party of women’s equality” and slammed Tory austerity measures that “disproportionately” affect women.