Free sanitary products will be funded for secondary and college pupils in England from September, Philip Hammond has announced. The chancellor of the exchequer made the announcement while delivering his spring statement to parliament. ‘I congratulate those honourable members who have campaigned on this issue on all sides of the House, and the education secretary will announce further details in due course.’ he said. No information has yet been released on the amount of funding schools will receive, and the new measure will not apply to primary schools.

The announcement was the only new funding for schools in the statement, which drew a critical response from major teaching unions. Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: ‘The Chancellor had an opportunity today to end uncertainty for schools about budget planning. He failed.’. Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT welcomed the announcement on sanitary products but argued it should be extended to cover primary schools ‘to ensure that no girl misses out on her education or has her dignity compromised due to period poverty. The fact that so many families cannot afford sanitary products for their children is in itself a shameful indictment on the Government’s policies, which have hit the poorest hardest, and especially children and young people.’

In his statement the chancellor said that, subject to a Brexit withdrawal agreement being agreed in the coming weeks, he intended to launch a full three-year spending review prior to the summer recess. Such a review would include setting departmental budgets for schools.

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