The SNP Government is using its new powers over social security to introduce a brand new benefit to provide eligible families with £10 a week for every child under 16, with introduction for under-sixes starting by early 2021.
The Scottish Child Payment will give more immediate support to families who need it most, as almost 60% of all children in poverty live in a family with a child under the age of six.
This payment will be delivered to all remaining eligible families with children under 16 by the end of 2022, with no cap on the number of children in families.
Families in receipt of Universal Credit and Universal Credit legacy benefits, including Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income Support, Housing Benefit, income-based Jobseekers Allowance and income-based Employment and Support Allowance, will receive the Scottish Child Payment.
When delivered in full, 410,000 children could be eligible for the income supplement; over a third of all children in Scotland. Its implementation will lift 30,000 children out of poverty by 2023/24.
This represents a significant investment in anti-poverty action by the SNP Government, with the resources in the first full year of delivery to under-sixes expected to be around £70 million. In the first full year of all payments for under-16s, it will be £180 million.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell MSP said:
“Scotland is facing a spike in child poverty as a result of welfare cuts imposed by the UK Government. We will act, rather than stand by and simply watch that happen.
“We will help families with £10 per week for every eligible child under 16 years old in Scotland. That will make a massive difference to thousands of children across Scotland and tackle child poverty head on. It will mean more families able to make ends meet.
“The Scottish Child Payment will not only help raise children out of poverty but is also designed to help prevent those just above the poverty threshold from sliding under.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“I unequivocally welcome this new measure by the SNP Government which the Child Poverty Action Group has labelled a ‘game-changer.’
“Evidence shows that the best way to help children get and stay out of poverty is to put money into parents’ pockets. This is a key preventative measure that will tackle child poverty head on in Scotland and help mitigate continuing UK Government austerity.”
The payment will be administered by Social Security Scotland alongside existing devolved social security benefits. It will be paid monthly and increase annually in line with inflation.