Sanitary products ‘not a luxury’ – says Chesterfield MP as he backs teenager’s petition to parliament calling for free period products across the UK
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At the end of August Jasmine Topley, 14, from Chesterfield, launched a petition calling for menstrual products to be available for free in shops, schools and colleges. Now Chesterfield Labour MP Mr Perkins has backed the petition, which has over 500 signatures, as he believes access to sanitary products is a ‘basic right’.
Mr Perkins said: “I want to commend Jasmine for creating this petition and raising awareness of period poverty. At the 2017 election, Labour pledged free universal access to sanitary products, however we were sadly unsuccessful in this campaign. It was also my Labour colleague, Monica Lennon MSP, whose campaign led to free period products in Scotland.
“Women utilising sanitary products is not a luxury but should be a basic right available to all. The cost-of-living crisis has shown that the financial circumstances of many people means they are unable to access basic essentials and so the Government should intervene to safeguard its most vulnerable citizens, including through sanitary product provision. Period products are essential for women and it poses a significant threat to their health and well-being if they cannot access these products.
“This is something I support and that the Shadow Women and Equalities Team will be exploring in the run-up to the next General Election.”
Period products are currently free in Scotland, but not in the rest of the UK, including England. Charity Action Aid, has recently shared data revealing that period poverty in the UK has risen from 12% to 21% in just a year due to the cost of living crisis. This means that currently there are about 2.8 million people in our country who cannot afford period products.
Jasmine, 14, said: “Period products should be free because some people don’t have the money to keep on getting period products every month. All the costs add up and nobody should have to choose between food and pads. This is how low-income issues disproportionately affect low-income households and marginalised communities. Scotland have made their period products free so why can’t the rest of the UK follow Scotland's steps?”