Yesterday saw the introduction of new legislation surrounding the legal duty of local authorities to provide free sanitary products.
West Dunbartonshire Council, however, has been offering them for free for almost four years. Despite access to the products being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent decreasing footfall in public buildings and community venues, 139,228 single use period products have been distributed by the council since 2018.
Housing Convenor Councillor Craig Edward said:
“The fact that these period products will now be freely available across Scotland is fantastic news, and I’m pleased that West Dunbartonshire Council was ahead of the game on this after introducing a scheme for our residents more than three years ago. This is now more crucial than ever before in light of the challenges being faced due to the soaring cost of living, and it just one more example of the work we are doing to support our communities.”
Councillor John Millar, Housing Vice Convenor, added:
“The high uptake of free products shows that this is something our communities need, and the fact residents can walk into a public building and grab what they need for themselves, a family member, or a friend, without judgement is a huge step in ending period poverty.”
The introduction of this legislation follows the launch of an app that was launched in January 2022, allowing people to see locations all across Scotland where there is public access to free sanitary products.
With the ever-increasing cost of living, it is important that local authorities recognise the importance of things such as sanitary products. Whilst Scotland has introduced legislation that ensure products are available for free from their local authorities, England does not have such legislation in place. Considering schemes such as levelling up are focusing on improving the quality of life for people, something like this could make a huge difference to communities as prices soar and people feel the pinch even more.