Aberdeen councillor says she will donate her baby box to charity

Cllr Claire Imrie is a Tory councillor who is also pregnant and thinks baby boxes should be means tested and will be donating hers to a food bank

A pregnant Conservative councillor has said she will donate her baby box to charity – and called for the scheme to be means tested.

The Scottish Government initiative was launched last year to provide new parents across Scotland with a box full of essential items aimed at giving their child a good start in life.

These contain clothes, books, blankets and thermometers and can also be used for babies to sleep in.

It is understood that the average cost to produce a box is around £160.

Last night, Hazlehead, Queens Cross and Countesswells councillor, Claire Imrie, who is expecting in August, said she is “lucky enough” not to require a box and would like the boxes to go to those “in most need.”

But the SNP have said that Ms Imrie should not have applied for the box.

Ms Imrie said: “(The council administration) have budgeted to the best we can on a low budget, unlike the SNP with regards to unnecessary provisions that should be mean tested such as the baby box.

“I will be donating mine to (foodbank) CFINE.”

She was backed by independent administration councillor Jennifer Stewart who called the boxes a “vanity project.”

She added: “Most people I know wouldn’t want to put their baby in a box and neither would I.”

But SNP councillor Michael Hutchison said: “I fundamentally disagree with the principle of means testing the baby box, but let’s consider how absurdly impractical means testing would be.

“What sort of cut-off are the Tories and Jennifer Stewart suggesting? Would we be taking baby boxes back from mothers-to-be if they get a payrise before they give birth?

“Or would it be phased, with a few less [items] if you earn more, up until you just get an empty box?”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman added: “Every baby born and living in Scotland is entitled to a Baby Box, but parents must opt in to the scheme by registering at an existing midwife appointment, or via their family nurse.

“The registration form must be signed by both the parent and the healthcare professional to validate the claim.”