Action to tackle child poverty
Scottish Child Payment to start in February.
Low-income families with a child under six will be able to apply for £10 per child, per week to assist with living costs from November, with payments to start from the end of February.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell announced the update as part of a statement to Parliament on the Child Poverty Second Year Progress Report.
She also confirmed that a further £2.35 million will be made available to the Parental Employability Support Fund this financial year to boost the £5 million already allocated. £1 million of this additional funding will be targeted at supporting disabled parents to progress toward employment and compete for jobs.
Ms Campbell said:
“These past months have been challenging for everyone but we know that coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a greater impact on the poorest in our society – many of whom will have struggled to make ends meet.
“That is why we’ve worked at pace and focused resources on getting the new Scottish Child Payment ready for applications. We know this vital payment will play a key role in tackling the blight of child poverty. To ensure that families receive the full support they are entitled to, we will link the Scottish Child Payment with the Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods through the application process. With all three schemes combined, low income families will receive over £5,200 of support for their first child by the time they turn six.
“What’s more, we are making an additional £2.35 million available for the Parental Employability Support Fund to focus support for both disabled and young parents and to maximise the impact of expanded Early Learning and Childcare entitlements. This will help families to move towards and into employment and provide wrap-around support and advice on issues such as housing and childcare.
“We are determined to continue to tackle child poverty. This has been shown by our investment targeted at children living in low-income households rising to £672 million – part of an estimated £1.96 billion directed at low-income households in 2019-20.”
Despite the significant impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown, the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment has only been delayed by two months.
No limits have been placed on the number of children supported by the Scottish Child Payment, Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods. The Scottish Child Payment will be worth £10 per child per week, equivalent to £520 per year. The three Best Start Grant payments are worth £1,100 for the first child and £800 for second and subsequent children. Payments through Best Start Foods are worth over £1,000 by the time a child reaches the age of three. Importantly, no limits have been placed on the number of children who can be supported, with up to £4,900 available for second and subsequent children.