GIRLS and young women across Redbridge could soon benefit from a free sanitary products trial.

Cllr Jas Athwal, Labour leader of Redbridge Council, and Andy Donald, chief executive of the council have both written to Theresa May arguing that the scheme should be started across England and Wales.

A cross-party consensus was reached in full council on Thursday, January 18, on sending a letter to the Prime Minister urging her to use funds from VAT collections on sanitary products to finance the scheme.

Trials across England and Wales should be funded by the money taken from VAT levy placed on female hygiene products since entry into the European Economic Area (EEA), the council agreed.

The motion backed by councillors also states that products should be free and available in schools and pharmacies to ensure menstruating women are able to be educated or work without worry.

Labour Councillor Barbara White, who represents the Goodmayes ward, forwarded the motion. Labour Councillor Neil Zammett, who represents the Chadwell ward, seconded the motion.

At the meeting, Councillor White said: “It’s the state’s duty to provide a basic safety net for people’s needs. I am angry as we have waited long enough for the government to take action. They say women suffer the most under austerity and this is an example of it.

“The subject has been hidden away for many years and if we get nothing else tonight we got a topic we can talk about in mixed company.

“It’s very important for young women and to think of them losing their education doesn’t bear thinking about.”

Councillor Zammet said: “Only one in five girls feels comfortable talking about periods with their teacher. We are talking about targeting funding to women in need.”