Extra support for 30,000 families
Plans to remove all income thresholds from Best Start Foods by 2023-24 have been announced as part of the second Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, ‘Best Start, Bright Futures’.
This will increase eligibility to all people in receipt of a qualifying benefit. As a result, an additional 30,000 people are expected to benefit from Best Start Foods.
Best Start Foods aims to help tackle the impacts of child poverty by supporting low income families to buy healthy foods, having replaced the UK Healthy Start Voucher scheme in Scotland in August 2019.
It is delivered via a prepaid card providing funds every four weeks – £18 throughout pregnancy, £36 from birth until a child turns one and then £18 from one until a child turns three. The card can be used to buy healthy food, including eggs, milk, fruit, vegetables and pulses.
The implementation of this change will be part of the successful delivery in the coming years of the Scottish Government’s significant, wider benefits programme.
Best Start Foods is part of a package of Five Family Payments. By the end of 2022, the package for low income families will be worth up to a maximum of over £10,000 by the time a family’s first child turns 6, and £9,700 for second and subsequent children.
I am pleased that the Best Start Foods scheme will benefit thousands more families with this eligibility change.
Tackling child poverty is an absolute priority of this Scottish Government and these programmes are a key part of that.
I would encourage constituents here in Angus to ensure that they get all the benefits that are available to them.
The Scottish Government continues to build a devolved social security system built on dignity, fairness and respect – and through various policies has acted, and will continue to act, to support people through the current cost-of-living crisis, insofar as its limited powers allow.
Income thresholds for Best Start Foods will be removed for all qualifying benefits.
This will mean an extra 30,000 people will benefit if they are pregnant or have a child under 3, providing more help with cost of living pressures.
— Scot Gov Fairer (@ScotGovFairer) May 11, 2022
– Minister for Social Security, Ben Macpherson MSP
Tackling child poverty is a national mission for us. We continue to take the necessary steps to reach the ambitious targets set out in our Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan. Social security is one of the main pillars of this plan and will help us to deliver support directly into the pockets of those families who need it the most.
The cost of healthy food was already a pressure for parents and carers, and the cost of living increases are only making this more challenging. We will remove the income thresholds for Best Start Foods so that around 30,000 additional people who receive tax credits or certain benefits will be able to receive Best Start Foods by the end of financial year 2023-24.
Applicants under 18 will be eligible for Best Start Foods during pregnancy and up until their child turns one, without the need to be in receipt of benefits.
Eligible families, and carers can find out more and apply at mygov.scot/beststart or by calling Social Security Scotland free on 0800 182 2222.