Green Social Security Spokesperson Alison Johnstone MSP today welcomed the introduction of the Best Start Foods scheme but backed concerns that design changes are needed.
The scheme, which replaces the UK Healthy Start Vouchers, provides prepaid cards for pregnant women and parents to purchase healthy food for their children.
The new policy increases the money available but reduces the upper age limit from 4 to 3.
Alison Johnstone MSP said:
“There are undoubtedly a lot of positives in this new scheme, in particular the increase in the amount of money made available.
"However, there are still concerns regarding the change to the age limit, which could lead to some children missing out. The use of pre-paid cards is also disappointing. Organisations like the Child Poverty Action Group have highlighted the stigma that is too often attached to these cards, while it remains the case that some shops simply don’t accept them.
“We also need to see the amount paid automatically increasing with the rising cost of food; better provision for those not able or willing to eat dairy products, and assurances that all current recipients, who have to re-apply rather than be transferred automatically, will be able to access the new scheme easily.”