Families benefit from new support grants

Sleeping baby web

Thousands of families have benefitted from a new grant which aims to ensure children have a good start in life

29th April 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Support for families who are bringing a new baby into the world has been welcomed by charities.

Nearly 10,000 low income families across Scotland received help from the new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby payment if the first three months of the scheme.

The Scottish Government initiative sees families gain a one-off £600 grant for the birth of a first child with £300 payments for second and subsequent children.

Payments were made to 2,400 families who have had their first child, according to the first published data for the new benefit, and a further 7,300 families who had a child already and have now welcomed a new-born into their household also benefitted.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “These statistics show what we can do with our social security powers to support families across the country. I am delighted that three quarters of the payments were for families who just wouldn’t have got this vital financial support under the previous UK Government scheme.

“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.”

Claire Telfer, head of Scotland for Save the Children, said the grant would support families who face poverty.

“Having a baby is a hugely exciting time for new parents but this milestone comes with a lot of extra costs,” she said.

“Set against the tide of rising child poverty amongst families with young children, we are pleased to see that today’s statistics highlight 9,770 families have benefitted from the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment – helping them to buy essentials like a pram, blankets and baby clothes. We also welcome the announcement that applications for the new Early Learning Payment will be open from today.

“Poverty has a firm hold on Scotland, but our children shouldn’t go without. The Scottish Government needs to continue to build upon its commitment; boosting investment and support in the early years to reduce the number of children experiencing the devastating effects of poverty and give them the future they deserve.”