Agenda item

Period Poverty

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor Sloman and seconded by Councillor Shannon-Kate Thomson:

 

That Council notes that:

 

·         A survey by Plan International UK found that 1 in 10 girls had been unable to afford sanitary products;

·         56% of girls said they would rather be bullied at school than talk to their parents about periods;

·         This is particularly problematic for girls from low-income families who see their parents struggling to make ends meet and feel reluctant to ask them to add sanitary products to the weekly shop;

·         In many cases, as a result, they may lose a significant number of days of schooling;

·         Regrettably, even women in low-income employment are sometimes unable to afford such products when struggling to meet household bills and feed their families;

·         Ironically, only female prisoners have a statutory right to access free sanitary products.

 

Council believes that, in a country as wealthy as Britain, ‘Period Poverty’ is a scandal that should be ended.

 

Council commends:

 

·         The Scottish Government for its commitment to tackle ‘Period Poverty’ by introducing free sanitary products in all educational establishments, and notes that Scotland was one of the first countries to pilot a scheme to young women and girls iin need in Aberdeen;

·         The ‘dignity bags’ scheme established by Chepstow Town Council where members of the public can donate sanitary products in branded boxes located in prominent places, such as pharmacies and libraries, for res-distribution to women in need

 

Council resolves to:

 

·         To explore with local secondary schools and college how sanitary products can be made available free in their establishments and the practicality of establishing a ‘dignity bags’ scheme in the Borough;

·         Ask the Chief Executive to write to the Secretary of State for Education and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, asking the Government to scrap the VAT levied on female hygiene products as soon as is practicable and, in the meantime, to use the VAT collected on these products to fund the provision of free sanitary products for girls and women in need.

 

Councillor Thrane moved and Councillor Ashton seconded the following amendment (text of the amendment indicated by itallics):

 

Council commends:

 

·         The Scottish Assembly for its agreement in principle this week to provide free sanitary protection for ‘anyone who needs them’ and its earliercommitment to tackle ‘Period Poverty’ by introducing free sanitary products in all educational establishments;

 

·         The ‘dignity bags’ scheme established by Chepstow Town Councilwhere members of the public can donate sanitary products in branded boxes located in prominent places, such as pharmacies and libraries, for re-distribution to women in need;

 

·         The Government’s scheme launched on 20 January 2020 to enable and fund schools and colleges to order period products for those who need them[1];

 

·         The Government health education policy whereby, under new guidance on relationships, sex and health education from September 2020 – it becomes compulsory for all state funded primary and secondary schools to ensure all young people learn about living healthy lives, including menstrual wellbeing;

 

·         The Government’s commitment to end 5% VAT on period products in the UK as soon as legally possible following the UK’s exit from the European Union and to eradicate period poverty globally by 2030.

 

Council resolves to:

 

·         Monitor the local implementation of the Government’s 2020 period products scheme in High Peak, in liaison with Derbyshire County Council;

 

·         If necessary, mandate councillors to encourage all schools in High Peak to participate;

 

·         Research the practicalities and costs of establishing arrangements for a ‘dignity bags’ or similar scheme in the Borough;

 

·         Consider providing potential seedcorn funding for any such arrangements through earmarking an appropriate amount from each member’s councillor initiative fund allocation for the first two years of implementation.

 

When put to the meeting it was RESOLVED accordingly.



Supporting documents: