PAUL Laverty, the screenwriter of the new award winning movie, I, Daniel Blake has backed a high-profile campaign calling for tampons to be free, after he highlighted the issue in the film.

Edinburgh-based Laverty told the Sunday Herald that while researching the movie, he had met people in foodbanks who said that although people were “very generous” with food items, many women and girls were often not given any support over access to tampons.

Laverty, director Ken Loach’s main collaborator, said it was an issue of “dignity” and a “necessity”, as he talked about the scene where a young single parent is driven to shoplifting to get tampons.

His latest remarks came after he said an independent Scotland would not allow welfare claimants to be persecuted and humiliated in the same way that the main protagonists of the pair’s newly released state-of-the-nation movie I, Daniel Blake are portrayed.

In the film, its lead character Blake, who loses his entitlement to disability allowance, crosses paths with Katie, a single mother-of-two, whose only option has been to accept a flat 300 miles away from her home town.

In a powerfully charged scene, Katie, played by actor Hayley Squires, is caught shoplifting tampons that she in unable to afford after using her income to buy food for her and her two children.

Laverty said the plight of the women, forced to choose between buying food and other basic necessities, was based on those he had met in foodbanks across the UK.

He said he was backing a campaign from Scottish Labour’s inequalities spokesperson Monica Lennon, for the Scottish Government to make free tampons available.

Laverty said: “I’d be very sympathetic to that.

“At a time when welfare payments are being frozen and inflation is rising, people are struggling to buy what are total necessities.

“When we were doing the research for the film I spoke to people in foodbanks who said that while the volunteers were very generous, the items that had been donated were mainly food ones.

“I met people in foodbanks who were given food by volunteers, but that some items like female hygiene products were not really available.

“These are a total necessity for women and I’d support the campaign for them to be free. It's about dignity.”

Lennon, welcoming the writer’s backing, said: “The Scottish Government has the powers to end the shame and embarrassment for women and girls in poverty, which can leave them with no option but to suffer a saturated sanitary towel or stuff their pants with toilet paper.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson, added in response: “We have made significant investment in a range of other services to support people on low income or facing acute income crisis and tackle the underlying causes of poverty.”