LABOUR are to call on the Government to go further in ending period poverty and make sanitary towels and tampons free to all.

Last month Scotland became the first country in the world to give out free sanitary products when they launched a £42,500 pilot project in Aberdeen which will target 1000 women and girls from low-income households in the city.

Monica Lennon, Labour’s inequalities spokesperson at Holyrood, who is to launch a consultation on her proposals today, said there was scope to do more. The MSP also wants to see schools, colleges and universities have a duty to provide sanitary products in toilets.

Sanitary towels can cost anywhere between 25p (for a pack of 10 Everyday Value Tesco towels) to £3.15 for a pack of 22 ultra-long, winged towels by Always. Meanwhile prices of tampons start from around £1 for a pack of 20.

Lennon said it was important access to pads and tampons was not been means-tested: “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.”

Lennon’s proposal is similar to the NHS C-Card scheme which gives 13 to 24-year-olds access to free condoms.

Scottish Government Communities Secretary Angela Constance welcomed the Labour consultation: “It is unacceptable for any girl or woman not to have access to sanitary products. We are exploring how to make these products freely available and have backed a pilot project in Aberdeen to help develop a sensitive and dignified solution to this issue.

“I welcome Monica Lennon’s work on access to sanitary products and will be happy to engage further with her as we look at what more can be done to tackle the issue, within the current powers of the Scottish Parliament.”

Gillian Martin, the SNP MSP who was instrumental in getting the Government to launch the pilot welcomed the cross-party consensus: “I am delighted that period poverty is finally something that all the parties are now recognising.

“It’s over a year since my colleagues and I got a resolution passed at SNP National Council on a potential solution in the form of a universal card allowing women access to period products.

“As a result of this the Government are now piloting a scheme and Monica Lennon’s Bill is obviously getting more people talking about this issue. It is of course an issue that Women for Independence have been campaigning on for a long time too, and with Cross Party and civic campaigns all coming together a solution is surely imminent”

Women for Independence launched their #FreePeriodScotland survey five months ago, open to anyone who lives in Scotland, who menstruates or has menstruated at one point in their life. Around 900 women have taken part.