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In the 2019 Spring Statement, UK Chancellor Philip Hammond addressed current subjects such as period poverty alongside general poverty, knife crime, and priorities within STEM research funding.

The Chancellor suggested no deal will mean “higher unemployment”, “lower wages” and “higher prices in the shops”, irritating the Prime Minister who has stoically upheld that a bad deal is worse than no deal.

This Spring Statement was released before the results of a parliamentary vote that narrowly prevented the possibility of no deal.

Mr Hammond told MPs:

“I need to be straight with the house.

“A no-deal Brexit would deliver a significant short to medium-term reduction in the productive capacity of the British economy. And because our economy is operating at near full capacity, any fiscal and monetary response would have to be carefully calibrated not to simply cause inflation.”

After the Chancellor acknowledged the current volatility of Brexit negotiations, it became clear that much of the funding outlined could be compromised by a hard Brexit.

What did the Chancellor do for period poverty?

The Government will fund free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges in England from the next school year. This follows Scotland becoming the first country in the world to make sanitary products a free provision to schools.

A survey from Plan UK in 2017 found schoolgirls were skipping school due to being unable to afford sanitary products, and others were using socks to stem the flow of their blood.
Amika George, who kick-started the #FreePeriods campaign told inews:

“Periods should never hold back a child from achieving their true potential, and now, after two years of campaigning, we will see menstrual products available for free in all English secondary schools.”

In her piece responding to the announcement, Amika George further suggests that the Chancellor should roll out this provision to primary schools for those who start their periods earlier and that the funding should be “ringfenced for this purpose” and not taken out of school budgets when schools are currently struggling with funding. Read more

Also Read: Low Pay Commission welcomes review of international evidence on minimum wages