Bold Steps to Tackle Child Poverty in Scotland

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We’re determined to ensure that no child grows up in poverty anywhere in Scotland – that’s why the SNP Scottish Government is taking bold steps to deliver a fairer future for all.

One of these is the Scottish Child Payment of £10 per week per eligible child, which we’re now doubling to £20 per week – four times the original amount that campaigners called for.

All eligible families can apply by calling 0800 182 2222 or visiting http://mygov.scot/benefits. Here’s all you need to know about the actions we’re taking to tackle child poverty.

“Game-changer” in the fight against poverty

The Scottish Child Payment, along with our Best Start Grant, provides vital support for families on low incomes, helps tackle child poverty and mitigates some of the most damaging aspects of a decade of Tory austerity.

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) said the payment was “an absolute game-changer in the fight to end child poverty”, while the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights said that “the spirit of the welfare state is alive and humming” with the new social security system that we’ve built in Scotland.

The most ambitious anti-poverty measure anywhere in the UK

Scotland is the only part of the UK where this additional financial support payment for families with young children is available, and the Scottish Child Payment is the most ambitious anti-poverty measure taken across the four nations.

What’s more, it has been rolled out on a record timetable of under 18 months from announcement to delivery – making it unprecedented in the UK, and highlighting the priority that the Scottish Government has put on tackling child poverty.

And unlike benefits provided by the UK government, due to their callous two-child cap, there are no limits to the number of children per family who can receive the Scottish Child Payment.

Over £5,200 of financial support in the first six years of a child’s life

Our Scottish Child Payment, together with Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods, will provide over £5,200 of financial support for families by the time their first child turns six. For second and subsequent children, it will provide over £4,900.

By April 2022, we will extend double the payment to £20 a week and extend it for children under 16, in line with our Child Poverty Delivery Plan.

Best Start Grant: helping families across Scotland

We’ve delivered our Best Start Grant pregnancy and baby payments, six months ahead of schedule, helping parents on low incomes with £600 on the birth of their first child and £300 on the birth of later children.

Since then, we have also launched the £250 Best Start nursery and school age payments, as well as Best Start Foods – helping those on lower incomes who are pregnant or have young children to buy healthy, nutritious food.

Delivering our Baby Box to every baby born in Scotland

We’re determined that every child, regardless of their circumstances, should get the best start in life, which is why we introduced Scotland’s Baby Box.

The box includes essential items for a baby’s first weeks and months, provides a safe space for babies to sleep, and helps tackle deprivation while improving health and supporting new parents.

Scotland’s policy has since been followed by other countries, such as Ireland.

Healthy and free school meals for children

We’re continuing to provide healthy school meals for all children in Primary 1 to 5 – helping to improve their health and ability to learn, and saving parents £400 per child per year.

And while the Tories had to be dragged into a U-turn by Marcus Rashford, we’ve invested to provide targeted free school meal support during school holidays.

By the end of this Parliament, we will provide universal free school breakfasts and lunches to all primary school pupils in Scotland, all year round.