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08/02/19 00:01

Best Start Grant pays out £2.7m

More paid out in two months than DWP paid in a full year.

The new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment has paid out more money to Scottish families in just under two months of operation than the DWP benefit it replaced paid out in a year.

Since opening for applications on Monday 10 December, Social Security Scotland has made payments to more than 7,000 low income households. The support provided to families across Scotland, as of 31 January 2019, totals £2.7 million.

In the entire 2017/18 financial year, the UK Government paid out a total of £2m of Sure Start Maternity Grant Payments in Scotland.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“The response we have had to the new Best Start Grant is absolutely exceptional and I am delighted that we have now issued over £2.7m of payments since the benefit opened in December - more in just two months than the DWP paid over a year. 

“This substantial increase in support for expectant families and new babies shows what can be achieved if we take a different approach to social security. We have simplified the application process, promoted this new benefit and engaged health and childcare professionals to help us maximize take-up.

“Alongside increasing the financial support for eligible parents, we have removed the UK’s previous one child limit, reaching children who would have received nothing from the Sure Start Maternity Grant. This shows the difference we can make with our new social security powers.

“The Pregnancy and Baby Payment is helping give children the best possible start in life, and demonstrates our commitment to making Scotland the best place for a child to grow up.”

 Background:

  • All of the data provided is initial management information. Official statistics, covering the first months of applications for the Best Start Grant, will be published in April 2019. More-detailed analysis will be published in a quarterly publication series starting from August 2019.
  • The figures in relation to Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment cover the period from Monday 10 December to Thursday 31 January.
  • From Monday 10 December to Thursday 31 January we received almost 14,000 applications for Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment.
  • Of those applications where a decision had been made by 31 January, around two thirds of applicants had been awarded a payment, and around one third had been denied a payment.
  • We expect denial rates to decrease. The initial period saw applicants who were outside Scotland, people with children who were over six months old on application and people applying where they were not in receipt of a qualifying benefit or tax credits.
  • Parents/carers will be eligible if they are the mother of the child, her partner, or have a young mother dependent on them, and get certain qualifying benefits.
  • Details on the qualifying benefits are available at mygov.scot/pregnancy-and-baby-payment/
  • DWP spending figures on Sure Start Maternity Grant are available at fiscalcommission.scot/about-us/correspondence/correspondence-response-from-dwp-on-social-fund-figures-for-scotland-4-september-2018/