New benefit will be paid more than six months ahead of schedule.
Plans that will see extra money paid to families on lower incomes have been laid in Parliament.
As outlined in Programme for Government, the first payments of the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Grant will be made before Christmas this year.
By summer 2019, a further two BSG payments of £250 per child will be introduced to help with the costs of early learning at age two or three, and when they start school.
Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
“I am delighted that Social Security Scotland will start making payments of the Best Start Grant earlier than initially anticipated – before the end of this year.
“The Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment pays more money to more children than the Sure Start Maternity Grant – £600 on the birth of a first child and £300 on the birth of any further children meaning lower-income families who are feeling the effects of welfare cuts are given the extra help they need.
“As part of our focus on child poverty, further payments when a child might be starting nursery or school mean that we are providing families with extra financial support at crucial points in a child’s early years. A two child family can receive a total of £1900 over the three payments, an increase of up to £1400 on the current UK provision.
“The regulations laid today allow us to proceed towards payment later this year and we will continue to work with those with experience of the current system to make sure that it’s easy for families to access their Best Start Pregnancy and Baby Grant.”
The Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Grant, will replace the DWP’s Sure Start Maternity Grant, payments will be made before Christmas this year, assuming DWP puts the required systems in place.
The consultation on Best Start Grant Regulations ran from 26 March to 15 June 2018 and we received 51 responses. The Consultation Report and the Scottish Government’s Response have been published on the SG website today.
We are conducting user research and testing, including with experience panel members, to make sure that we design a benefit and application process that makes most sense to the people who will use it.
In accordance with its responsibility to provide independent forecasts for devolved Social Security, the Scottish Fiscal Commission will publish forecasts for the BSG Pregnancy and Baby Grant today.
On 13 September the Scottish Government will lay the suite of Regulations required for the creation of a new Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland and Upper Tribunal for Scotland for dealing with social security appeals for devolved benefits.