Calls for Jersey government to make period products more accessible and affordable

The Red Box Project currently provides free menstrual products to 28 schools on the island.

A petition is calling on Jersey to follow the Scottish government in making period products free to all who need them.

In November 2020 Scotland became the first country to pass a law making menstrual products universally available for free in public places, as well as schools, colleges and universities.

Jasmine Eisha Beaumont, who volunteers with Girlguiding Jersey believes the same approach is needed in Jersey.

Having them accessible for everybody, no matter what your wage packet says at the end of the month or no matter how much money is in your bank account, or your age, I think it's really important to have them accessible for people who need them. I struggled and I felt embarrassed and ashamed to talk about periods openly and I think it's still quite a stigma with the girls.

Jasmine Eisha Beaumont

The average woman will spend up to £5,000 on period products in her lifetime but many can't avoid to.

Plan International found nearly a third of girls aged 14-21 in the UK struggled to access or afford menstrual products during lockdown last year. Over half admitted to having used toilet paper instead.

Nearly a third of girls aged 14-21 in the UK struggled to access of afford period products during lockdown in 2020.

In Jersey there is limited data on period poverty although The Red Box Project, a non-profit organisation which provides free period products to girls, says there is a great need.

The currently provide free boxes of products to all but 2 secondary schools on the island, as well as a primary school and several youth organisations and services.

Jersey is now the last place in the British Isles to charge tax on menstrual products after the UK and the Isle of Man abolished the so-called tampon tax in January. Guernsey doesn't have any VAT-style taxes.

Senator Kristina Moore raised the issue at a Scrutiny Committee hearing on Friday 8th January but was told by the Treasury Minister that the government will not consider a tax exemption for period products.

Jersey's approach is simple for Islanders and businesses to administer, and ensures parity of taxation across different goods. I therefore do not support a reduction in GST on one type of product.

Deputy Susie Pinel, Treasury Minister

The Social Security Minister has responded to Jasmine's petition saying the government will carry out research to understand the need and cost implications of free period product provision.