All newborn babies in Scotland are to be provided with a Nordic-style “baby box” to help tackle inequality, under SNP plans.
The plan will see mothers given sturdy cardboard boxes with clothes, toys, nappies and a built-in mattress to turn the containers into cots.
They are based on a scheme from Finland and have already been hailed as a potential breakthrough in the fight against cot death. Parents are encouraged to let babies sleep on their backs in the converted boxes in the same room as them.
An extra 500 health visitors will also be pledged to give tots a health check at 30 months.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The baby box is such a simple idea but has been proven to have a real impact, reducing child mortality and helping families at the start of a child’s life.
“By providing every newborn with a baby box we can help child health – and by providing greater support to new families we will also help tackle child poverty and improve the chances of some of our most deprived children.”
The SNP manifesto being launched this week will also sway that the Scottish Parliament should be able to stage a second independence referendum if there is “clear and sustained” evidence that most Scots want to leave the UK.
Although there is no explicit commitment to a second independence vote, Ms Sturgeon made it clear she could move on the issue despite previous claims the 2014 referendum on independence was a “once in a generation” event.