Government makes Scottish Child Payment available a year early
Low income families will be able to apply for a new £10 a week payment for every child aged 0-6 next year after the Scottish Government brought forward its Scottish Child Payment.
As part of measures to lift 30,000 children out of poverty, the benefit, which was due to launch in 2021, will now open for applications in autumn 2020, with the first payments reaching families by Christmas.
Speaking on a visit to Stepping Stones, an Edinburgh charity which provides support services to young parent families and pregnant women, social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Scotland is facing a spike in child poverty as a result of welfare cuts imposed by the UK Government, but this new payment is a game changer for families on low incomes. It will mean more families are able to make ends meet and there is no cap in the number of eligible children per family.
“I am delighted that as part of the Programme for Government we have been able to confirm that the payment for under 6s t can now be introduced even earlier than planned. This will ensure we are able to get more money into the pockets of low income families sooner than we originally intended.
“The families I’ve met in Pilton this morning have told me the payment will make a massive difference to them – it will help them get by each month, enabling them to buy necessities.”
The Scottish Child Payment will give more immediate support to eligible 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.
It will be rolled out in full to eligible families by the end of 2022, benefiting 410,000 children – over a third of all children in Scotland – and backed by £180 million of investment. It will put £500 a year, for each child, in the pockets of families and it will lift 30,000 children out of poverty.
Citizens Advice Scotland’s social justice spokesperson, Mhoraig Green, said the announcement is “an important acknowledgement of the urgent need to take action against the rising tides of poverty”.
Ms Green added: “Figures released from Citizens Advice Scotland just last week show that 1 in 4 working people are struggling on their present salary. Policy makers need to ensure money is getting into the pockets of people who need it the most.
“It is vital that families who are entitled to this benefit claim it, and everything else that they are due. Our research shows that people support the principles of our welfare state, that people pay in and get the support that they need when they need it.
“In the meantime, people who are struggling can turn to their local citizens advice bureau for help. We help and advocate for hundreds of thousands of people each year and can ensure people are claiming the right support and not overpaying on bills.”