Government to spend billions tackling child poverty

The Scottish Government says “more than £23 billion in social security payments” will be paid out over the next four years. It says this will help lift children out of poverty and mitigate the rising cost of living.

In line with Scottish Fiscal Commission forecasts, almost £1.8 billion is being committed to the Scottish Child Payment, which will increase to £25 per eligible child per week when the payment is extended to under-16s at the end of 2022.

The Resource Spending Review also allocates up to £300 million to tackle child poverty and deliver wider measures to reduce household costs, with separate funding to provide free school meals and boost parents’ career prospects.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said: “We are determined that nothing deflects us from our mission to tackle child poverty and deliver a fairer Scotland. Our Scottish Child Payment – now reaching an estimated 103,000 children and with investment of £55 million in its first year – is at the heart of this work.” Ms Forbes went on to say that if the UK Government matched Scottish Government funding, “by 2023-24 there would be around 60,000 fewer children living in poverty than in 2017.”

The Best Start Grant School Age Payment – a one-off payment of £267.65 per child for families in receipt of certain benefits or tax credits – is now open for applications. Scottish families are being urged to check if they are eligible for the Government’s package of social support which includes five family benefits. Once the Child Benefit payment increases, family support “could be worth more than £10,000 by the time an eligible family’s first child turns six”.

Best Start Grant School Age Payment is now available to eligible families with children born between 1 March 2017 and 28 February 2018. The payment is for parents and carers receiving tax credits or certain benefits when their child becomes old enough to start primary school. Parents who have deferred their child’s entry to school from August 2022 to August 2023, or those who are home-schooling, should apply this year. There is no cap on the number of children in a household who can get this payment. Children who started school last year, or who could have started school last year but who deferred until this year, are unfortunately no longer eligible.

School Age Payment applications are open until 28 February 2023. Visit mygov.scot/beststart or call 0800 182 2222 to find out more or apply.

Background

The measures set out in the tackling child poverty delivery plan 2022-26, Best Start, Bright Futures, will provide direct financial support to low-income families, including helping more than 300,000 children through the Scottish Child Payment.

To learn more about the Scottish Child Payment and to apply, visit mygov.scot/scottish-child-payment or call 0800 182 2222.

Stats show 1.2 million individual payments of Scottish Child Payment were made to more than 95,000 clients. It is estimated that 103,000 children were actively in receipt of Scottish Child Payment as at 31 March 2022. In the 2021/22 financial year, Scottish Child Payment paid out more than £55 million to low income families.

 

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