Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds City Council set to offer free sanitary products

sanitary products on a shelf
Image caption The council is set to work with partners to provide the free sanitary protection

Free sanitary products should be provided in schools and libraries in Leeds, according to a report to the the city council.

The scheme, which aims to tackle period poverty, is to be discussed by senior councillors next week.

The report also advises the council to lobby the government to declassify sanitary products as luxury items and remove the 5% VAT currently payable.

A pilot study for the scheme is under way in one of the city's schools.

There are 34 libraries, 43 secondary schools and 225 primary schools in Leeds.

The council hopes to work with partners to provide them with free sanitary products, alongside its network of community hubs and one-stop centres.

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It aims to produce "sustainable, long-term solutions for tackling period poverty informed by young women".

There are no agreed figures for the extent of period poverty in Leeds, according to the report to the council's Executive Board.

It does not contain any estimates of the cost of the scheme.

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  • The average cost of a period is about £10 a month
  • About one in seven girls have struggled to afford sanitary wear
  • More than one in ten girls have had to improvise sanitary wear due to affordability issues
  • Just under one in five of girls have changed to a less suitable sanitary product due to cost issues

Sources: Bloody Good Poverty and Plan International - quoted by Leeds City Council

Councillor Jonathan Pryor said: "Period poverty is a circumstance that no-one should have to experience.

"It is so important that we create this city-wide conversation around period poverty so that people feel comfortable discussing their needs and experiences."

The Executive Board meeting is due to be held on 19 December.

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