MONMOUTHSHIRE County Council has been accused of being overtaken by another local authority in its bid to tackle “period poverty”.

Cllr Tony Easson called for greater proactivity after councillors in Rhondda Cynon Taf pledged to provide free sanitary products to girls in schools earlier this week.

A similar scheme, which also suggested the introduction of reusable products, had been discussed by Monmouthshire councillors in December.

The council subcommittee are investigating the prevalence of the issue in Monmouthshire, but Cllr Easson urged the authority to act immediately.

Speaking at a full council meeting on Tuesday, he said: “We’ve got four secondary schools in this county far less than Rhondda Cynon Taf.

“We should be more proactive. I urge the committee to get things moving.

“We were one step in front and we’ve been overtaken now.

“We should have flown the flag a long time ago.”

The cross-party committee, chaired by the council’s cabinet member for social justice Cllr Sara Jones, have met with the council’s youth forum ‘Engage To Change’ on the issue.

Cllr Jones told councillors that they had received some positive feedback from the group, together with primary and secondary schools, but wanted to gather accurate evidence before making the next step.

Cllr Jo Watkins, a member of the committee, revealed plans to interview schoolchildren across Monmouthshire to discover the “real issues” they face.

“We are going to move forwards with this,” she added.

“This is not a stuck policy, we’re going to do it right and we’re going to do it right for the girls in Monmouthshire.”

A Monmouthshire County Council spokesman said that only one of the county’s four secondary schools have sanitary product dispensing machines, with the school in question charging pupils £1.

But some, like Caldicot School, already give out free products to pupils in need through an existing partnership with the brand Always.