Scottish Labour’s Danielle Rowley, who represents Midlothian, apologised for being late to a House of Commons women and equalities debate, saying she was on her period and it had cost her £25 so far this week.
She called for action on the cost of sanitary products. “We know the average cost of a period in the UK over a year is £500. Many women can’t afford this. What is the minister doing to address period poverty?” she asked.
The UK government is under pressure to follow the lead of the Scottish parliament and offer free sanitary products to women on low incomes. One in 10 girls in the UK cannot afford them, according to a study by Plan International UK.
A survey into the effects of period poverty in Scotland released this year showed the extreme lengths some women go to, including resorting to using old clothes or newspapers, when they cannot afford sanitary protection.