9/09/2007

£120 grant to pregnant mothers does not add up

The government are floating the idea of giving pregnant mothers a £120 grant when they are seven months pregnant in order to buy healthy food.

The problem is that this will be open to everyone, so millionaires will also get the money, and the government will have no control over whether the money is spent on healthy food or cigarettes and alcohol. Perhaps it might pay for some drugs, who knows, least of all the government.

So what is the point in it ?

If we had received £120 when my wife was seven months pregnant, we would not have earmarked it for healthy food. Our diet is already very healthy. So it might have gone in to our savings or have been spent on other baby things. Some will say that that is another good reason for being given £120 at that time. It may well be, but the government have specifically said this money is being targeted to provide mothers with the chance to spend it healthy food.

Like child trust funds it is another plan designed by Labour as a gimmick which has not been thought through. I'd rather this money were targeted or means tested or spent on education or even the NHS, with particular emphasis on it being spent on promoting healthy food in schools. As it is, the policy is daft.

5 comments:

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

I couldn't agree with you more...

If Brown wanted it to go on 'fruit 'n' veg' he would have produced special tokens - redeemable at most supermarkets. This is nothing more than a pre-election bribe! And nannism at its worse.

Anonymous said...

There should be a 'maternity grant' that is not means tested. After all, you can't give child benefit to every single child, regardless of means, from the day they are born and yet not support the parents during the pregnancy. That doesn't make any sense. If you support every child from the day of its birth, you should support every child(and their parents) in the run-up too.

But I agree that healthy eating isn't the best idea. Healthier foods are not necessarily more expensive and most of us already eat that way.

A £120 grant towards maternity clothes would be much better and is an idea my friends have floated in the past. I've had to buy a whole new wardrobe being pregnant when I already have cupboards full of perfectly good and serviceable non-pregnant clothes. Even borrowing some bits, buying cheap and in the sales it still ends up costing a load and you have absolutely zero choice in it. What else are you supposed to do - go into work naked because you can't fit your baby bump into your old clothes?

Or, as you suggest, a grant towards the equipment you NEED to start up for the baby and for yourself for the birth/hospital- the list of which *essential* items is endless. We've kept to those on the essentials list only, no extras, and are already touching £1000 of spend by the time you include turning the second bedroom into a nursery.

I think the £250 Child Trust fund should be awarded to parents instead of the child before the birth for the purpose of purchasing this necessary equipment. After all, we get help through child benefit and tax credits to pay for the child and its needs after the birth so why not before?

fake consultant said...

in the us, we have a program directed at providing better food for moms and kids (wic).

does such a program exist in the uk?

if it doesn't, would you support such a program?

Norfolk Blogger said...

We don't have such a scheme in the UK. The problem is though that many people but more expensive ready meals or take away meals for them and their kids and ognore the cheaper healthy locally produced goods that are better o nthe body and the wallet.

As for the comments by anonymous, I agree 100% that the costs to a new parent are enormous. Okay, we bought top of the range stuff, but if you include things that our parents have bought for us, we similarly have spent on the region of £1000 on stuff that are essentials for a new born.

Child Trust Fund said...

I agree that this is a bad idea. Why do people need to be paid to eat health food, and give their children healthy food. They should want to do what's right for their children anyway. And as you've pointed out it could be spent on anything, so it's just free money.

I do however think that the Child Trust Fund is a good idea.

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