Today, Plaid Cymru MS Sioned Williams called on the Welsh Government to implement a universal roll-out of baby bundles in Wales to help parents during the cost of living crisis.
In a question to the Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt, Sioned Williams MS, spoke of "the enormous and increasing" economic pressure households are under, and mentioned how the number of people struggling to pay their bills and debts had "soared". Sioned Williams, who represents South Wales West, asked the Minister whether she agreed that baby bundles should be rolled out universally in Wales to help new parents during this cost-of-living crisis.
Speaking at the Senedd, Sioned Williams MS said:
"We've heard again today about the enormous and increasing economic pressure households are under. Across the UK, the number of people struggling to pay their bills and debts has soared to nearly 11 million, with 11 per cent of adults missing a bill or loan payment in the last three of the previous six months, according to new research by the Financial Conduct Authority. It's therefore imperative that Welsh Government uses every means possible to support people and lift them also out of poverty.
"In Wales, households with young children are more likely to be living in relative poverty. The baby box scheme has been very successful in Scotland as one way of helping people cope with the extra financial pressure having a new baby brings. And a baby bundle scheme was piloted by Welsh Government in the Swansea Bay University Health Board area between September 2020 and March 2021, and deemed successful according to the evaluation published by the Government. Further positive scoping research for a national roll-out of this was also recently published. It's two years since the end of the pilot. We now have further research completed.
So, does the Minister agree that baby bundles should be rolled out universally in Wales as soon as possible to help new parents during this cost-of-living crisis? And could the Government publish details of how and when they intend to increase the provision of baby bundles?"
In response, the Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt said that baby bundle scheme had been "successfully piloted" and that the Welsh Government were aiming "to procure and appoint a supplier to deliver this [policy] by the end of the year, and are starting project delivery during spring of next year."