By Jason Michael

Baby boxes are coming to Scotland. After three miserable centuries of Scotland being robbed blind to fatten the London élite, we at last have a government that is committed to ending child poverty and giving everyone in Scotland a better start in life.

One in four children born in Scotland spend their childhood in poverty, and childhood poverty remains the single most significant indicator of poverty into adulthood and throughout life. Since coming to government the Scottish National Party has placed tackling childhood poverty at the top of its agenda, and with increased powers to the devolved Edinburgh parliament it has made serious headway in addressing inequality in education and general welfare. From 1 January this coming year the Scottish government will be giving a baby box to every child born in Scotland – regardless of the income of his or her parents.

Finland, with an infant mortality rate of almost ten percent, introduced the concept in 1937 and since then has brought that rate down to the lowest in the world – along with Norway, Sweden, and Iceland with only two deaths per thousand. Each box contains an assortment of the basic necessities required by mum and the new baby. And more: With a mattress at the bottom the box can also be used as a bassinet, giving baby somewhere safe and cosy to sleep. This has to be one of the most forward-looking policies introduced by any government in the United Kingdom.

According to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, these baby boxes – as well as a whole raft of initiatives and policies designed to improve life chances, nurseries, and early education – are about levelling the playing field and giving every child in Scotland a fairer deal. When we weigh this hope against the backdrop of the British alternatives of austerity, welfare sanctions, and foodbanks – even if it all goes belly up – it is still outstanding. Nothing like this ever happened for Scotland while Westminster was in control. It never happened while the unionists were in charge either.

All of this may be, as the opposition will point out, political opportunism on the part of the SNP – and that might to some degree be true, but who really cares why it is being done so long as it is being done? Over the course of the history of the union Scotland and the north of England have produced the lion’s share of the wealth, and all we have gotten in return is poverty. Now that we have a parliament of our own and a government of Scots working for the genuine good of everyone in Scotland we have real policies that are looking ahead. This is a sign of a better Scotland.

Baby Box Review

Author: Jason Michael (@Jeggit)

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