New baby benefit makes first payments
Parents welcome improved support.
Families are now benefitting from the new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment which supports low income families.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met some of the first parents and babies to benefit from the payment which offers low income parents or carers £600 on the birth of their first child and £300 for any subsequent children.
Following its launch last week, the first payments have been made, with Social Security Scotland receiving more than 4,000 claims on the first day alone. That is around the same number of UK Government Sure Start Maternity Grants, which Best Start Grant replaces, for the whole of 2017-18 in Scotland.
The First Minister said:
“The Pregnancy and Baby Payment will help give children the best possible start in life, and demonstrates our commitment to making Scotland the best place for a child to grow up.
“At this time of year we know many families on low incomes feel particularly stretched so I’m pleased we are starting to get this extra money into people’s pockets this week. By expanding the eligibility and making it easier to apply we are delivering substantive improvements on the DWP system. Importantly, we place no cap on the number of children it will support.
“The response we have had with claims is absolutely exceptional and reflects the difference we can make with our new social security powers including increasing the financial support parents are eligible for and removing the UK’s previous one child limit to support more children. It was lovely to meet parents and children who are benefitting from the grant and find out the difference it can make to families.”
Connie Rumsby, a 25-year-old mother of three from Glasgow whose baby is six months old, said:
“The Best Start Grant will make life a lot easier. My other children are four and five so there are lots of things I will need to buy again. I got the baby box which is great, but having £300 extra to my buy my son something when he’s a wee bit bigger is a real help.”
Caitlin Donachie is a 24-year-old mother of a three year from Glasgow whose baby is one week old, said:
“Being entitled to this payment which I wouldn’t have got under the previous system will make a real difference, especially when I have other children to provide for. It makes life a lot less stressful because I’m not having to worry about money for the new baby’s things as I can use my Pregnancy and Baby Payment to cover that.”