Period poverty: Redbridge council call on PM to provide free sanitary products to women in need

PUBLISHED: 13:15 19 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:22 19 January 2018

Redbridge council are calling on . Photo: M.P.3

Redbridge council are calling on . Photo: M.P.3


Redbridge Council is appealing to the prime minister to trial providing free sanitary products to vulnerable women across the country.

Councillors voted unanimously in support of a motion for Council Leader Cllr Jas Athwal and Chief Executive Andy Donald to write a letter to the PM asking that funds from VAT collection on women’s hygiene products subsidise products for women in need.

But the council also rejected opposition calls to commit to leading the way by funding a similar scheme for women within the borough in April 2018.

“Some 10pc of women are not able to afford sanitary products,” said Goodmayes Councillor Barbara White, who put forward the motion.

She then went on to share examples of girls who are unable to attend school because they can not afford sanitary products, calling for the government to roll out a scheme pioneered by the Scottish government in Aberdeen.

Run by Community Food Initiatives North East, a foodbank and social enterprise, an expected 1,000 women will be able to recieve free sanitary products through the scheme.

“Periods aren’t embarssing,” she added. “It’s the state’s duty to provide a safety net for peoples basic needs.”

VAT on tampons and other sanitary products cannot be reduced below 5pc at present due to rules the UK must abide by as a member of the European Economic Area.

The average amount women pay for sanitary products in the UK over the course of their lives is £18,000, according to figures provided by Valentines ward Councillor Farah Hussain.

Conservative Cllr Emma Best, expressed support for the motion and tabled a further amendment that the council “lead the way” by introducing its own scheme.

“Women do not get to choose when they bleed,” she said, adding: “Your period doesn’t care about your bank account.”

Opposition members posited that, based on the scheme piloted in Aberdeen, such a scheme would cost around £50,000 and could be funded by scrapping council newspaper Redbridge Life and reducing the costs of interim managers within the council.

Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal responded by stating that Redbridge life is cost neutral and criticised the short notice with which the amendment was tabled.

“To see an amendment when the council meeting starts, you can’t be serious in bringing this forward.”

But added: “While we cant take this amendment forward, we need to look at how we can take the spirit of the amendment forward.”

The amendment was rejected by councillors with a vote of 35 against and 13 for with one not voting.


  • Why pointless this gesture letter? Sanitary products can be bought extremely cheaply in any supermarket, less than a pound. If 10% of women can’t afford them maybe Redbridge Council needs to address this abject poverty in our midst.

    Report this comment


    Friday, January 19, 2018

  • Why pointless this gesture letter? Sanitary products can be bought extremely cheaply in any supermarket, less than a pound. If 10% of women can’t afford them maybe Redbridge Council needs to address this abject poverty in our midst.

    Report this comment


    Friday, January 19, 2018

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Latest Ilford Stories


Essex batsman Varun Chopra was delighted to do his bit for the team in their Royal London One-Day Cup win over Somerset at Chelmsford on Friday night.

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this bank holiday weekend? Watch our three-minute Met Office video forecast.

Last week I told you that I was leaving one radio station. Like a bad smell but in audio form, I’m hard to get rid of.

It is perhaps unthinkable to suggest that we could become inured to the horror of the loss of so many young lives on our streets recently; however, the memory of these incidents, the pain and distress they have caused will become less acute with the passage of time.

Yesterday, 21:31

A monumental innings of 160, the highest List A score of his career, by Varun Chopra helped Essex Eagles revive their Royal London Cup campaign against Somerset at Chelmsford.

Yesterday, 16:34

Redbridge Council has applied for a High Court interim injunction to ban travellers from settling in the borough.

Yesterday, 16:31

Green-fingered community members have the opportunity to grow edible plants with medicinal properties at a Hainault garden in aid of refugees.

Yesterday, 16:00

After a tough start to 2018, the recently relegated side will aim to enjoy success in two different formats over the Bank Holiday weekend


An Ilford shoe retailer and podiatry practice is taking the next step with a move to a new shop just a few doors down.

Redbridge estate agents Sandra Davidson answer the common questions homeowners have when it comes to selling their home, and reveals how you can make sure the sale is stress-free

Redbridge Estate agents Sandra Davidson’s hassle-free service guarantees rental income for your property, whether it is occupied or not. Here they share details of the Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it can help you avoid the regular stresses associated with managing a let.

Newsletter Sign Up

Ilford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now