Free sanitary products are to be made available in secondary schools and colleges across England from September.

The measure was announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in a short Spring Statement today.

Addressing MPs, he congratulated those who had campaigned for the provision, adding that Education Secretary Damian Hinds would give further details in due course.

Mr Hammond said: "In response to rising concern by headteachers that some girls are missing school attendance due to inability to afford sanitary products, I have decided to fund the provision of free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges in England from the next school year."

In response to a question in the Commons, Mr Hammond added later that he was "quite open to sensible suggestions" for how to address the issue in primary schools.

To tackle period poverty in schools, the Department for Education will lead work to develop a national scheme to ensure the provision of free sanitary products to girls in secondary schools.

A spokesman for the National Association for Head Teachers said they welcomed the move, saying it was "the right thing to do".

Last week a Bolton News special report found that 26 schools across the town relied on donations to provide pads and tampon for young girls suffering period poverty — where people cannot afford to buy sanitary products.

The newspaper unveiled a campaign to collect sanitary products to donate to the period poverty initiative, the Red Box Project, which supports the schools in need.

Since then, readers have provided generous donations.