Best Start Grants to be Paid Before Christmas

Maree Todd with babyLocal MSP Maree Todd, SNP,  has welcomed the announcement that the first payments of the Best Start Grant will be delivered to families in the Highlands & Islands in time for Christmas.

The Best Start Grant – which provides low-income families with financial support during the early years of a child’s life – will see eligible applicants receive £600 for their first child, £100 more than the UK government’s equivalent in England.

Best Start Grants replace and expand on the UK Government’s Sure Start Maternity Grant by providing eligible families with £600 on the birth of their first child and £300 on the birth of any subsequent children.

Maree Todd who is Minster for Children and Young People in the Scottish Government said:

“I am delighted that families in the Highlands & Islands will be eligible for their first payments of the Best Start Grant in time for Christmas. These new payments will ensure that our under 5’s get the best possible start in life.

“It’s vital that the SNP government can provide help at a time when families in the Highlands & Islands are seeing UK government social security support drastically reduced, and Universal Credit is causing hardship across Scotland.”

The payments can  “cover some of the costs of having children. These costs could be things like needing a pram, heating your home or buying clothes for your baby but, because it’s a cash payment, you can choose how you need to spend the money.”

Maree Todd said:

“By reversing and mitigating the Tory cuts that have been so damaging to families in the Highlands & Islands, and ensuring that we support those on the lowest incomes, the SNP are building a social security system based on dignity and respect.”

You can find out more information about the Best Start Grant, if you are eligible and how to apply by clicking on this link: Pregnancy and Baby Payment

The grant is one of several new measures being introduced by Scotland’s new Social Security Service. Successive UK governments  have been slammed by Professor Alston from the United Nations for pursing policies which have caused poverty for 14 million people in the UK.

“Poverty is a Political Choice”the Alston United Nations Report on Poverty in the UK

The UK Government has a 2 child benefit cap –  unless the mother can prove she conceived as the result of a rape, known as ‘the rape clause’.  Professor Alton’s research found that women, children, the disabled and the most vulnerable in society were paying the heaviest price for UK government austerity policies. It was driving many into despair and for some, suicide.

The report also praised the devolved administrations , Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland for their efforts in trying to mitigate the effects of the policies. The Best Start Grant is one example of how Scotland is doing this.

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