Shropshire Star

Almost 293,000 ‘welcome gift’ baby boxes handed out since scheme’s launch

The first boxes containing essential items were given to expectant parents in mid-2017.

Baby boxes

More than 292,000 of Scotland’s baby boxes have been delivered to expecting parents since the scheme began in 2017.

As of March 1 this year, 292,720 boxes have been given out.

Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville announced the figure during a visit to the charity Home-Start Falkirk this week.

Based on a long-established scheme in Finland, the baby box is a universal free offer for families expecting babies in Scotland.

Each box contains a number of items which are useful in the first six months of a child’s life.

The APS Group, which delivers the baby box scheme for the Scottish Government, says the cost of buying the box itself and its contents would be £429.

However an evaluation carried out by Ipsos Mori in 2021 put the figure at £298.

Shirley-Anne Somerville said the baby box is a ‘welcome gift’ to mark a birth (Jane Barlow/PA)

The box is delivered between weeks 32 and 36 of pregnancy and uptake is above 90%.

Ms Somerville said: “The baby box is a welcome gift for every baby born in Scotland.

“It ensures that every family with a newborn has access to essential items needed in the first six months of a child’s life, like clothes, books and thermometers, saving expectant parents around £420.

“We want to ensure every child has the nurturing care they need to have the best start in life and to fulfil their potential.

“Supporting parents is key to improving outcomes for children and young people.

“As a result of the Scottish Government’s policies such as the Scottish child payment, it is estimated that 100,000 fewer children will live in relative poverty in 2024-25.

“But we will always be fighting poverty with one arm tied behind our back if the UK Government is delivering policies that result in the opposite outcome.

“The spring Budget should be an opportunity for the UK Government to take action needed to transform the lives and outcomes of people across the UK, including introducing an essentials guarantee to ensure social security benefits adequately cover the cost of essentials.”

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