Political Correspondent

SCHOOLS, colleges and universities will be required to provide free sanitary products in toilets if a bid to introduce a new law is successful.

Monica Lennon, Labour MSP, is launching a consultation on a bill to provide universal free access to sanitary products.

Ms Lennon has been campaigning on the issue since becoming an MSP last year in a bid to end stigma associated with menstruation and to ensure no-one is unable to afford sanitary products.

If it becomes law her Bill would place a duty on the Scottish Government to introduce a universal system of free provision of sanitary products.

Scotland would become the first country to bring in free access to sanitary products, if it get the approval of the Scottish Parliament.

Schools would be required to provide free sanitary products in school toilets.

And all colleges and universities would also have to provide free sanitary products in campus toilets.

After the initial moves the Scottish government would be expected to introduce measures to extend the requirements to other public bodies in future.

Ms Lennon, has previously led a debate at the Scottish Parliament on the issue arguing it is a health matter and that austerity is leading to women being unable to afford sanitary products with food banks offering them to those who are referred.

She said: “Scotland has the opportunity to be a world leader in ending period poverty. Access to sanitary products should be a basic right but sadly in Scotland we know not everyone can afford or obtain what they need.

“That’s why I intend to introduce a legal duty on the Scottish Government to develop a universal system in Scotland which will provide free sanitary products for anyone who needs them.

“My proposal also includes a statutory duty on schools, colleges and universities to provide free sanitary products in their toilets. Having your period shouldn’t result in anyone missing class.

“This is a big step towards creating a fairer and more equal society and I hope to hear from people right across Scotland during the consultation.”

The Scottish Government has recently launched a pilot scheme in Aberdeen where low income women and girls are to be offered free sanitary products.