The new Best Start Grant package is putting more money in the pockets of low income families than the DWP system it replaced.
Since it started making Best Start Grant payments last December, Social Security Scotland has made more than 42,000 payments to families in Scotland, totalling £12.9 million.
Of the total paid out between December and June, £6.1 million was for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, which replaced the UK Government’s Sure Start Maternity Grant in Scotland. In the entire 2017/18 financial year DWP paid out a total of £2m Sure Start Maternity payments in Scotland.
The Best Start Grant also introduced two brand new payments, the Early Learning Payment, which has paid out £4.3 million and the School Age Payment, which has paid £2.4 million.
Speaking on a visit to meet parents who have benefited from the new payment at Kelty Community Centre, 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 we have made almost £13 million in payments. What this means is that in just seven months we have provided low income families with over £10 million of additional support that would not have been available to them under the old DWP system in a whole year.
“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. And we have created two new payments to support families during key stages of a child’s life.
“For a two-child family, the Best Start Grant package will provide total support of £1900 –£1400 more than they would get under the previous UK system. This shows the direct difference we are making to families across Scotland with our new powers over social security.”
Lisa Cameron a mother from Kelty said:
“As a working mum, the Best Start Grant payments, are making a massive difference to me and my family. I have a two year old daughter with learning difficulties and was able to use the Early Learning Payment to buy sensory equipment for her to use in the garden. And with another wee one on the way I will shortly be able to apply for a £300 Pregnancy and Baby Payment that I wouldn’t have been entitled to under the old system.”
- the Best Start Grant is a package of three payments: Pregnancy and Baby Payment (applications taken from 10 December 2018), Early Learning Payment (applications taken from 29 April 2019) and School Age Payment (applications taken from 3 June 2019).
- the payments are made to families in receipt of eligible benefits - including Universal Credit, Income Support, Housing Benefit and Tax credits
- 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/