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Inverness councillor urges party members to back period poverty bill

By Louise Glen

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Emma Roddick outside Inverness High School...Picture: James MacKenzie..
Emma Roddick outside Inverness High School...Picture: James MacKenzie..

An Inverness SNP councillor is behind a bid to end period poverty for thousands of women.

Councillor Emma Roddick has signed an open letter to the Scottish Government asking them to reconsider blocking a bill that would make universal access to free period products statutory right.

The member's bill due to be heard on February 25 in the Scottish Parliament has already been blocked by SNP and Conservatives who sit on the Local Government and Communities Committee.

The Scottish Government has argued the legislation is unnecessary in light of measures it has already introduced to address period poverty, and raising concerns about the £24 million cost.

More than 70 members of the party, including Ms Roddick have signed an open letter to the government, asking them to continue to lead the way in tackling inequality.

The letter urges MSPs to continue this approach with period products, saying the SNP has already “made massive strides in tackling period poverty”, making Scotland the first country to provide free period products in schools, colleges and universities since 2018 and recently launching a campaign to address the issues young women face around periods, including bullying.

The letter reads: “The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill aims to make free universal provision of period products a right. The bill will create a statutory duty so that progress made on this issue cannot be rolled back and undone.

“It aims towards universal provision, where those who choose to access these products can do so easily, in privacy and with a choice of the products they receive, with an option for collection or delivery. The passing of this bill will give those in need the dignity and privacy to maintain their personal health.”

Responding to the letter, Scottish Government communities secretary Aileen Campbell said: “I applaud Monica Lennon for her work on the proposed period poverty bill but we need to address the concerns in her proposed legislation, such as what a universal scheme offering a variety of products would look like, what the impact of losing local flexibility would be, and the estimated £24 million a year it would cost to the public purse.”

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