Comhairle buys sanitary products from a local supermarket to meet government deadline

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The Comhairle has met targets set by the Scottish Government to provide free sanitary products to school pupils in the Western Isles, but a national shortage in supplies meant that the Comhairle could only meet the deadline by buying ‘the entire stock of sanitary products from a local supermarket’.

The confirmation comes in a report, before the Comhairle’s Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee this week, which also confirms that, due to the national shortage of sanitary products, the Comhairle was still awaiting a bulk delivery for Lewis, Harris and Barra by the end of August.

A spokesperson for the Comhairle stated that the supply problems had now eased.

The Scottish Government made a commitment in its 2017 Programme for Government to provide ‘access to free sanitary products to students in schools, colleges and universities’ to ‘support equality, dignity and rights for those who menstruate and to ensure that lack of access to products does not impact on an individual’s ability to fully participate in education, at all levels.’

Cllr Angus McCormack, Chairman of the Committee, said: “In the Western Isles, sanitary products are available in the relevant girls’ toilets at both secondary and primary schools. Pupils are free to take as many as they need and are being encouraged to do so.

“The Comhairle met the initial target to have the products available in all schools by mid-August and a twin track approach is planned with local models of delivery put in place to develop the longer term national models.”

The Comhairle received more than £10k from the Scottish Government for the purchase of sanitary products and for the administration and set-up costs of the scheme.