Motion could see sanitary products given out at borough council buildings

Great Yarmouth Town Hall.Photo: Andy Darnell

Great Yarmouth Town Hall.Photo: Andy Darnell - Credit: Archant © 2011

Sanitary products could be made available free of charge in council-run buildings in the Great Yarmouth borough.

A motion to be tabled by Labour councillors next week is calling for toilets in council buildings including Town Hall to be equipped with the products without a charge.

It will be put forward at the next meeting of Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s full council and will also call for the council to lobby central government over VAT charges.

The motion says: “Having a period is a completely natural process that shouldn’t be a source of awkwardness for anyone in today’s society.

“Women and girls do not choose to have a period, it is not a luxury but comes as an expensive monthly cost.

“Many find themselves in a position where they either can’t access sanitary products, or in some cases can’t afford them.

“They are resorting to using other items including socks, tissues and napkins instead and this is not right.”

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The council’s Labour group is calling for the borough council to provide the products in all its buildings and make them available to all staff and visitors.

These buildings include the town hall on Hall Plain, the housing office on Magdalen Way and community hubs such as the MESH office in Gorleston.

The motion does not, however, include council-owned public toilets.

Trevor Wainwright, leader of the group, said: “There has been a lot of publicity recently around period poverty and we think this would come at a relatively small cost, but make a really big difference.

“A huge amount of people visit council offices, often in difficult circumstances, so something like this would be a big benefit.”

The motion also asks that the borough council write directly to the prime minister calling on the government to remove VAT charges from all sanitary products “at the earliest opportunity”.

If the motion is agreed, it would see council buildings join Great Yarmouth’s library in offering the product, which began doing so in May.

This offering came through a project called the Tricky Period, which aims to tackle period poverty by providing sanitary products in various locations across the county.