Record social security investment in Resource Spending Review.
More than £23 billion in social security payments are set to be delivered by the Scottish Government over the next four years, helping 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 and Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison visited St Bernard’s Primary School in Glasgow this morning to hear from parents who have received support through Social Security Scotland’s family benefits.
Ms 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. This is the most ambitious step of its kind being undertaken anywhere in the UK to put money in the pockets of parents and carers who need it most.
“We are already doing everything in our power to protect families from the cost of living crisis and give them a brighter future. If the UK Government matched our ambition to mitigate those impacts, the support we have prioritised in the spending review would mean that by 2023-24 there would be around 60,000 fewer children living in poverty than in 2017.”
Ms Robison urged everyone to check they are not missing out on valuable financial support, including the Scottish Government’s five family benefits. One of these, 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 – opens for applications today.
“We know the costs of starting school can mount up, especially when rising prices are hitting families hard. That’s why we’re offering a package of support including five family benefits – once we’ve increased the Scottish Child Payment at the end of this year, our support could be worth more than £10,000 by the time an eligible family’s first child turns six,” Ms Robison said.
“I would encourage all households who think they could be eligible for benefits to check online, seek appropriate welfare advice, or get in touch with Social Security Scotland to find out more about the financial support they are eligible for. Social security is a human right and too many people are missing out on UK Government benefits, which may be a passport to receiving further support from Scotland’s social security system.”
The Resource Spending Review is a strategic framework sharing high-level plans for how funding will be invested in the coming years to meet Scottish Government priorities.
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.
The first Official Statistics for the Scottish Child Payment were published on 31 May, covering the period to 31 March.
They 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.
Best Start Grant School Age Payment, administered by Social Security Scotland, 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.
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