'Period poverty' is forcing young girls to sacrifice education

Lorely Burt, Liberal Democrat Shadow Equalities Secretary, will use her speech in the Budget debate in the Lords today to highlight the plight of young girls who are dropping out of school as a result of 'period poverty'.

She will call on the Government to provide free sanitary products to school age girls who are already recipients of free school meals.

In her speech Lorely is expected to say:

"I wonder if the minister saw the story about a charity which sends sanitary products to girls in Africa being asked if they could donate some to girls in Leeds, who are bunking off school each month because they can't afford sanitary products to wear to school.

"This is a shocking state of affairs, where low-income girls and women cannot afford hygiene products during their period 

"My lords, we can't have this in THIS country. 

"So can I make a suggestion for the government to consider?

"Could we not give sanitary towels to girls who qualify for free school meals? We already know who these girls are, and the cost of setting up the system would, I'm sure, be very small.

"And it would mean that ALL girls in school could confidently attend school all month round without having to worry about the embarrassment of their period letting them down.

"The government is investing hundreds of millions of pounds for their pet project of free schools, many of which will end up as selective - helping mostly middle class children further up the ladder at the expense of the rest.

"Liberal Democrats want you to invest a very modest amount to protect the dignity and the education of some of the lowest income, most deprived children in our country.

That's not too much to ask is it, for a government that wants 'a country that works for everyone?'

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