The Social Security (Miscellaneous Amendment and Transitional Provision) (Scotland) Regulations 2022: Fairer Scotland Duty impact assessment summary

Assesses the impact of changes to Best Start Foods, Best Start Grants and Scottish Child Payment on socio-economic inequality. This duty came into force in Scotland in 2018 and is set out in Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010. It considers issues such as low income, low wealth and area deprivation.

The Five Family Payments

SCP launched on 15 February 2021 and was introduced by the Scottish Government to tackle child poverty for low income families in receipt of reserved benefits. As of 1 April 2022, it pays the equivalent of £20 a week per child every four weeks in arrears to families with no cap on the number of eligible children a family can claim for. SCP is currently paid to families with children under the age of 6 – recognising that, of all children in poverty, almost 60% live in a household where the youngest child is aged under 6, and the early years are key to improving long term outcomes. While it has always been our intention that SCP should be paid to children under 16, we were able to introduce the SCP early for all eligible children under six. By now rolling out SCP to children aged 6-15 we are expanding this intervention to tackle child poverty which is unparalleled across the UK.

The Scottish Government has replaced the Sure Start Maternity Grant in Scotland with the Best Start Grant (BSG). The BSG is intended to support eligible families with the additional costs associated with having a child in their early years. It aims to help alleviate material deprivation, tackle inequality, and contribute to closing the educational attainment gap. The grant provides support to low income families at three key transition points in a child's early years.

The BSG consists of 3 payments: Pregnancy and Baby; Early Learning; and School Age. As of 1 April 2022, the Pregnancy and Baby Payment provides £642.35 for a first child and £321.20 for second and subsequent children. An additional payment of £321.20 is payable in the case of a multiple birth. The payment also provides support for people who have had a stillbirth. Both the Early Learning Payment and the School Age Payment provide £267.65 per child.

The Scottish Government replaced the UK Healthy Start Voucher scheme in Scotland with Best Start Foods (BSF) on 12 August 2019. BSF supports low income families with a pregnant woman and/or a child or children under the age of 3. The payments are delivered via a pre-paid card.

BSF currently provides £18 every four weeks throughout pregnancy, £36 every four weeks from birth until a child turns one to support breastfeeding mothers or help with the costs of providing first infant formula milk, then £18 every four weeks from one until a child turns three.

The FFP all target support to low income families. For most eligible individuals, qualifying benefits are used as a proxy for means testing. For BSF, there are income thresholds which apply to some of the benefits.



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