Liberal Democrats are renewing their call on the City Council to address ‘period poverty’ in Cambridge, following the news that the National Health Service has decided to recognise the issue for people staying hospital.
Period Poverty occurs when someone cannot afford to buy sanitary products, so is forced to use newspaper, socks or toilet paper in place of proper sanitary protection. National data suggests that 1 in 10 people are currently in period poverty, and this has a particular impact on school age children who have been reported to miss school because they cannot afford proper protection.
A Lib Dem plan was last month rejected by the Cambridge City Council’s Labour majority. It would have seen the development of a scheme in partnership with a local voluntary organisation, using £8000 of left over funding to provide free sanitary products in public toilets and community centres.
Over the last weekend the NHS has announced that it will mandate all hospitals to provide free tampons and sanitary products to women and girls patients in response to a lobby by the British Medical Association and campaigners against period poverty such as Freedom4Girls.
Lib Dem City Councillor Cheney Payne commented: "We were dismayed at Labour's decision last month to dismiss our plan with no good reason given. But where the City Council has held back, the NHS has set an excellent example and it ought now to prompt a rethink.
"It is scandalous that people in our society are living in period poverty, even more so when they are in hospital and affording to meet basic biological needs should be the last thing on their mind. The Lib Dems will continue calling for further decisive action and not just warm words on this issue”.