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Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill

Overview

This Member’s Bill was introduced by Monica Lennon MSP. It proposes different ways to make period products (like sanitary pads and tampons) available for free.

If the Bill passes, it would mean:

  • the Scottish Government must set up a scheme to make period products free for people through councils and other public bodies 
  • Schools, colleges and universities must make a range of period products available for free in their toilets
  • the government will have the power to tell other public bodies to make period products freely available in their buildings

Scottish Government scheme

How the scheme could work is not set out in detail. But people may have to register for it and then collect their products or have them delivered.

This scheme will include free products for those with no fixed address or homeless people.

You can find out more in the Scottish Government document that explains the bill.

Why the Bill was created

Since the recession of 2008, poverty levels have been rising in Scotland. Many people are finding it difficult to afford basic items, including period products.

Research shows 1 in 7 girls surveyed in the UK had struggled to afford period products. 1 in 10 had been unable to afford products.

Not having period products can lead to people missing education, work or recreation. There also remains a stigma associated with having periods, and people can feel embarrassed to ask for products.

Using period products for too long or using unsuitable alternatives can lead to infections and health issues.

Young people often do not have access to their own money and may struggle to access period products. Also women are more likely than men to be at risk of domestic abuse and financial control. This can impact the money they have to spend on essentials like period products.

You can find out more in the Scottish Government document that explains the bill.

The Bill at different stages

'Bills' are proposed laws. Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) discuss them to decide if they should become law.

Here are the different versions of the Bill:

The Bill as introduced

Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill as introduced

The Member in charge of the Bill, Monica Lennon MSP, sends the Bill and the related documents to the Scottish Parliament.

Bill is at ScottishParliament.SC.Feature.BillComponents.Models.BillStageModel?.DefaultBillStage?.Stage_Name stage.

Where do laws come from?

The Scottish Parliament can make decisions about many things like:

  • agriculture and fisheries
  • education and training
  • environment
  • health and social services
  • housing
  • justice and policing
  • local government
  • some aspects of tax and social security

These are 'devolved matters'.

Laws that are decided by the Scottish Parliament come from:

Government Bills

These are Bills that have been introduced by the Scottish Government. They are sometimes called 'Executive Bills'.

Most of the laws that the Scottish Parliament looks at are Government Bills.

Hybrid Bills

These Bills are suggested by the Scottish Government.

As well as having an impact on a general law, they could also have an impact on organisations' or the public's private interests.

The first Hybrid Bill was the Forth Crossing Bill.

Members' Bill

These are Bills suggested by MSPs. Every MSP can try to get 2 laws passed in the time between elections. This 5-year period is called a 'parliamentary session'.

To do this, they need other MSPs from different political parties to support their Bills.

Committee Bills

These are Bills suggested by a group of MSPs called a committee.

These are Public Bills because they will change general law.

Private Bills

These are Bills suggested by a person, group or company. They usually:

  • add to an existing law
  • change an existing law

A committee would be created to work on a Private Bill.

Bill stage timeline

The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill is currently at Stage 1.

Introduced

The Member in charge of this Bill, Monica Lennon MSP, sends the Bill and related documents to the Parliament.

Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill as introduced 

Related information on the Bill

Stage 1 - General principles

Committees examine the Bill. Then MSPs vote on whether it should continue to Stage 2.

Committees involved in this Bill

Who examined the Bill

Each Bill is examined by a 'lead committee'. This is the committee that has the subject of the Bill in its remit.

It looks at everything to do with the Bill.

Other committees may look at certain parts of the Bill if it covers subjects they deal with.