New benefit for low-income families to begin in February

Those with a child under six will be able to apply for £10 per child, per week.

New benefit for low-income families to begin in February Pixabay
Benefit: Low-income families will be able to apply.

A benefit aimed at lifting children out of poverty will be paid to low-income families in February.

The Scottish Child Payment was due to open for applications this autumn, with the first payment reaching families in December.

However, the Scottish Government was forced to put the benefit on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, communities secretary Aileen Campbell announced that low-income families with a child under six will be able to apply for £10 per child, per week to assist with living costs from November.

Payments will then start from the end of February.

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament on the Child Poverty Second Year Progress Report, Campbell also confirmed that a further £2.35m will be made available to the Parental Employability Support Fund this financial year to boost the £5m already allocated. 

She said £1m of this additional funding will be targeted at supporting disabled parents to progress toward employment and compete for jobs.

Campbell said: “These past months have been challenging for everyone but we know that coronavirus has had a greater impact on the poorest in our society – many of whom will have struggled to make ends meet. 

“That is why we’ve worked at pace and focused resources on getting the new Scottish Child Payment ready for applications. We know this vital payment will play a key role in tackling the blight of child poverty.”

To ensure that families receive the full support they are entitled to, the Scottish Child Payment will be linked with the Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods through the application process. 

With all three schemes combined, low-income families should receive more than £5200 of support for their first child by the time they turn six.

Campbell added: “What’s more, we are making an additional £2.35m available for the Parental Employability Support Fund to focus support for both disabled and young parents and to maximise the impact of expanded early learning and childcare entitlements. 

“This will help families to move towards and into employment and provide wrap-around support and advice on issues such as housing and childcare.

“We are determined to continue to tackle child poverty. This has been shown by our investment targeted at children living in low-income households rising to £672m – part of an estimated £1.96bn directed at low-income households in 2019-20.”