New benefits help low income families

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during a visit to One Parent Family Scotland in Glasgow in December when she announced  the first payments of the Best Start Grants Pregnancy and Baby Payments.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during a visit to One Parent Family Scotland in Glasgow in December when she announced the first payments of the Best Start Grants Pregnancy and Baby Payments.

A total of 200 families in South Ayrshire received a Scottish Government Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment in the first three months since it launched in December 2018.

The Pregnancy and Baby Payment is for low income families and provides £600 for a first child and £300 for any siblings thereafter. The South Ayrshire families eligible for the grant received a total £70,800 between them.

The payment is part of the Scottish Government’s new Best Start Grant package for families in receipt of eligible benefits - including Universal Credit, Income Support, Housing Benefit – and tax credits to help at key stages in a child’s life.

Early Learning Payment - £250 for children aged between two and three and a half went live on Monday, April 29. School Age Payment - £250 for when a child would normally take up a school place – opens on Monday, June 3.

When the School Age Payments begin in June, the Best Start Grant package, along with Carer’s Allowance Supplement, will bring the total number of Scottish Government benefits being administered by Social Security Scotland to four.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “I am committed to making sure that every child gets the support they need to have the best start in life.

“The huge take-up of this new benefit in its first three months highlights just what can be achieved when you design a service with the people who will actually use it. In doing so, we have simplified the application process and offered multiple ways to apply.

“We have found out where we need to promote the payment and who we need to work with – including health and childcare professionals - to make sure that people know that they are entitled.

Social Security Scotland chief executive, David Wallace, said: “Pregnancy and Baby Payment is the first payment that we launched that required people to apply. I am delighted with the take up of this so far and to see people applying from all over the country.”

“We are not complacent though and we will continue to promote these benefits through communications, marketing and the local face to face service that we are starting to set up to make sure that everyone who is entitled to this support knows about it and applies.

“The Scottish Government sees social security as people’s human right and it is part of our responsibility to deliver a service that enables people to access and exercise this right.”