Pregnant women to receive £120 healthy eating handout
Mums-to-be will receive a £120 ‘good food’ grant when they are seven months’ pregnant to encourage them to eat healthily, it has been revealed.
Pregnant women will be expected to spend the money on fresh fruit and vegetables to give their unborn babies the best possible start in life.
The one-off state payment, which will be given from 2009 to all women when they are seven months’ pregnant, will be accompanied by professional health advice. The grant is part of a ‘health in pregnancy’ plan to be unveiled by Health Secretary Alan Johnson later this week.
It’s estimated that one in 12 of more than 600,000 babies born each year are born underweight after being denied essential nutrients in the womb.
This can lead to a great risk of long-term health problems, including heart disease and diabetes.
The Child Growth Foundation welcomed the scheme, saying: ‘It’s good that the government is waking up to the scale of the problem.’
However, some doubters question how you will be able to monitor whether women actually spend the grant on nutritious food.
The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats described the move as a ‘gimmick’ and complained that the £70m-a-year scheme would be a waste of taxpayers’ money.