Spring Statement 2019: secondary schools to provide free sanitary products to girls

13 March 2019

Secondary schools will begin to provide free sanitary products to girls from the new school year, the Chancellor has announced. 

In an attempt to tackle so-called 'period poverty,' the Chancellor confirmed that secondary schools will start providing sanitary products free of charge to girls.

Philip Hammond said that the Department of Education would work with schools and colleges to roll out a scheme across England.

According to Plan International, one in 10 girls in the UK cannot afford sanitary towels or tampons and as many as 137,000 girls have missed a day at school as a result.

It says that women spend £18,000 over their lifetime on sanitary products – an average of £13 a month.

Mr Hammond said that the initiative should be up and running by the start of the new school year in September.

Benefits charity Turn2us tweeted: “Fantastic news that free sanitary products will be provided in English secondary schools from September. A good step in tackling period poverty for many children.”  

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, the union which represents leaders in the majority of schools adds:: “It is very welcome news that free sanitary products will be available in schools and colleges from the next academic year.

"Too many girls miss out on vital education each month as a lack of access to sanitary products forces them to miss school. Even those pupils who do not suffer period poverty will benefit from free access to sanitary products, ensuring no child is without protection during what can be a very stressful and vulnerable time.

“It would, however, be good to see free sanitary products further extended to year 6, as many girls start their periods before secondary school. The government deserves a lot of credit for recognising this issue and for solving it as quickly as possible.”


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I cannot believe this. The government has caved in to some voiciferous protestors because if they hadn't they would have been perceived as anti-women. 'Period poverty' is a myth. The reason girls take time off school is not because they can't afford sanitary protection but because the first day can be painful for some girls. And some will be bunking off on the basis that the school can't actually check whether they are having their period.Think about it: if they can't afford sanitary protection and miss school as a result, what on earth do they wear at home? Do they bleed all over the sofa?You can buy fourteen sanitary towels for 79p in Superdrug. Yes, really. Sanitary protection costs nowhere near £13 a month! Even women with heavy periods wouldn't need more than four packets over seven days (56 towels), and that equates to a mighty £3.16! (Cue the chant of the wimmin: "But a lot of families can't afford 79p!" What utter tosh.)This hasn't been thought through. Some girls will be too shy to ask for them. Poorer girls are likely to miss out while girls whose families can easily afford sanitary protection and who have more confidence will bag the lot. If they're put in the toilets, they'll all be nicked on the first day.And what happened to necessity being the mother of invention? If families have spent all their money on luxuries and simply have no money left over, they could use a bit of common sense and fashion their own towels out of rags and cut down plastic bags. Women did this in days gone by and it didn't harm them, and it will be a lesson in how to budget.Meanwhile, the taxpayer picks up the bill for something that was not needed in the first place.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Do reporters ever subject what they write to a reality check? From above: "It says that women spend £18,000 over their lifetime on sanitary products – an average of £13 a month." Let's see... 18000 / 13 = 1385 months. That's 115 years!!

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