The first Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payments will be made before Christmas, helping low income families with the cost of having a child.
The payment will see eligible applicants receive £600 for their first child, £100 more than the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Sure Start Maternity Grant it replaces.
This SNP Government payment also provides £300 for all subsequent children, meaning there is no cap on the number of children it supports, unlike the current UK Tory Government equivalent.
In addition to the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, by summer 2019, two additional early years payments will be introduced. The first £250 payment will be made around the time a child starts nursery, to help with the costs of early learning and a further £250 when they start school.
Social Security Secretary, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP said:
“I am delighted we will be delivering the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment earlier than originally planned, providing low income families with increased financial support. I am particularly pleased, that by not capping children, babies born in the last six months who already have a big brother or sister, and had no support from the UK Government because they were not the first child, will be eligible to get their payment.
“With the Early Learning and School Age Payments this means that for a two child family, the Best Start Grant will provide £1,400 - £1,900 more than they would get under the UK legacy benefit. That’s a substantial investment to ensure our under 5s get the best possible start in life and reflects this government’s emphasis on the early years.
“Our focus on supporting people on low incomes, and the action we are taking stands in stark contrast to the UK Government, who last week was criticised by the UN Poverty Rapporteur for being in denial about the damage and misery that their welfare cuts were causing.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“This new benefit will be wholly delivered by Social Security Scotland and we can already see the difference with the unaccommodating approach of the UK Tory Government in this regard.
“For instance, most people will be able to apply for the Best Start Grant payment without sending any evidence as, with permission, Social Security Scotland will check DWP systems and Baby Box data. This makes the grant much more accessible and those who need it and have other things on their mind, much more likely to apply.
“I encourage everyone across North Ayrshire who may be eligible to contact Social Security Scotland to find out more information and apply. They take applications via the free phone number 0800 182 2222 or online at www.mygov.scot/pregnancy-and-baby-payment.”