The latest data available on take-up in 2020 shows that 98 per cent of expectant parents took up the opportunity of receiving a baby box. As of Friday 10 June 2022, we had distributed 220,788 baby boxes to families across Scotland. The independent evaluation of Scotland’s baby box programme, which was published in August 2021, highlighted the positive impact of the scheme on families, particularly first-time, younger and low-income parents. It showed 97 per cent satisfaction with the baby box and its contents, and 91 per cent of families reported financial savings as a result of receiving a box.
Will the minister join me in welcoming Ireland’s pilot project, dubbed “the little baby bundle”, which will see 500 newborn babies receive a baby box in a policy initiative that is similar to Scotland’s? Does she agree that universality is an essential aspect of Scotland’s scheme, which promotes an equal start for all children in Scotland, reducing stigma and conveying benefits beyond the purely financial?
I agree with the member. It is fantastic that Ireland has decided to pilot its own version of the baby box, which has been informed by our approach in Scotland, and I wish the project every success.
Scotland’s baby box strongly signals our determination that every child, regardless of the circumstances, should get the best start in life by ensuring that every family with a newborn has access to the essential items and support that are needed in the first six months of a child’s life. I believe that universality is a crucial aspect of the success of the scheme in Scotland. As I said previously, there has been a 98 per cent take-up of the scheme, which helps to underpin our ambition that every child should have the best start in life.