Tom Arthur MSP has welcomed news that pregnant women and families with babies and children are to be offered increased access to healthy foods.

The new Best Start Foods payment replaces the UK Government’s Healthy Start paper vouchers with a new payment card, and is now open for applications.

The card, which works in a similar way to bank cards, can be used to buy a variety of healthy foods including milk and infant formula, fruit and vegetables, pulses and eggs.

Eligible families on low income benefits will get £17.00 on their card every four weeks during pregnancy and for any children between one and three years old. For babies up to the age of one, the payment increases to £34.00.

Commenting on the launch, Tom Arthur said:

“The SNP Government is committed to doing all it can to improve the health and wellbeing of children in Renfrewshire South and across Scotland and give them the best start in life. That means ensuring low-income families can access the healthy foods that some may otherwise struggle to afford.

“The introduction of this new payment card will enable families to access this vital support without fear of stigma.

“It is easier than ever for people to apply, with the application process combined with Best Start Grant so families can apply for four different payments with just one form.

“It’s important to ensure that everyone who is entitled to a payment is encouraged to apply and access this support, so this Government will work with partners including midwives and a range of other healthcare professionals to promote Best Start Foods.”


  • Applications for Best Start Foods opened on Monday 12 August 2019
  • The card can be used to buy fresh eggs, milk (plain cow’s milk and first infant formula), fruit and vegetables (fresh, frozen or tinned), pulses (peas, lentil and beans – dried, fresh, frozen or tinned
  • More information can be found at or by calling 0800 182 2222
  • Existing users will be invited to apply on a phased and regional basis between August and the end of March 2020. In the meantime, they can continue to use their vouchers.
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