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Period Poverty

Question for Women and Equalities

UIN HL7978, tabled on 26 April 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what trends they have identified, if any, in period poverty and shame; and what steps they are taking to address any such trends.

Answered on

28 April 2022

Period poverty is an issue the government takes very seriously and has taken a number of steps to address the problem.

Since January 2020, a Department for Education scheme provides free period products in schools and 16-19 education institutions in England. Additionally, from 1 January 2021, the ‘tampon tax’ has been abolished - with a zero rate of VAT applying to all period products. Prior to the abolition of the tax, a Tampon Tax fund was in place to allocate the funds generated from the VAT on period products, to projects which improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls. A final round of £11.25 million in grant funding was awarded in November 2021 to distribute the VAT collected on period products in the final nine months of the 2020/21 financial year, before the tax ended.

As well as these steps, in 2019, NHS England announced that it would offer period products to every hospital patient who needs them and the Home Office changed the law to ensure that all people in custody are provided with health and hygiene products for free, to include period products.

In March 2020, in light of COVID-19, the work of the Period Poverty Taskforce was paused to free up resources to focus on the pandemic. Further announcements on the plans and the work of the Taskforce will be made in due course.

Answered by

Women and Equalities