Ending Period Poverty

23 Sep 2023

Periods are not just a monthly inconvenience, but they can be painful, unpleasant and expensive.

And it is the cost, perhaps the most straightforward of things to address,  which is putting millions of families under unnecessary strain in the midst of a cost of living crisis.

For those already grappling with economic barriers like the gender pay gap and ‘motherhood penalty’, the estimated lifetime costs of £5000 can be overwhelming.

There are an estimated 2.8 million women and girls coping with period poverty across the UK. A number that has only grown thanks to the cost of living crisis. 

That is not acceptable. We can fix it - and we must.

Period products are not a luxury but a basic necessity. Nobody should find themselves unable to access the products they need simply because of their financial circumstances.

But the Conservative Government’s current provisions for free period products in England fall woefully short of the mark. These products are currently available only in schools, leaving countless others without support. 

Liberal Democrats are committed to taking action, standing up against period poverty, and working towards a more equitable future. 

Our new policy, endorsed by Liberal Democrat members today, outlines a comprehensive plan to improve access to free period products across England, eradicating period poverty and fostering a more inclusive society.

  • Right to Access: Introducing a right in England to access a choice of free period products, ensuring that no one is left behind.
  • Wider Availability: Expanding the reach of free menstrual products to vital institutions such as homeless shelters, women's refuges, foodbanks, NHS GP surgeries, and universities.
  • Broader access: Placing a duty on local authorities and education providers to make period products freely available in their buildings, and ensuring they have the necessary government funding to do so.
  • Inclusivity: Improving access for marginalised groups, including people with disabilities, asylum seekers, homeless individuals, and those in remote areas, to ensure they have improved access to free period products.

All of this will be made possible by reinstating the public health grant. The grant has been steadily reduced by the Conservatives year on year. Liberal Democrats would reinstate the grant to a minimum of its 2015 per capita level, in real terms.

We will also emphasise the importance of education around menstruation to change attitudes and dismantle stigma. By addressing this issue at its core, we can create a society that is not only period-poverty-free but also informed and understanding.

Whether on combating violence against women and girls, expanding childcare and parental leave, ending the gender price gap, or tackling period poverty, I’m proud that Liberal Democrats are continuing to lead the way on issues affecting women. 

So please, join us in the fight to end period poverty - and together, we can pave the way for a more just and inclusive future.




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