The Scottish Government has brought forward a brand new benefit for eligible families of £10 a week for every child under 16. For children under 6 the benefit will start to be paid by early 2021 with the Scottish Child Payment.
There are around 4 million children in the UK living in poverty. In Scotland there are approximately 230,000 children living in poverty.
The Alston report made it clear that the appalling levels of poverty in the UK were the result of the austerity driven agenda brought in firstly by the LibDem/Conservative Coalition Government and then by successive Conservative Governments.
A string of welfare ‘reforms’ and the introduction of Universal Credit has made it extremely difficult for many people, including those with young families, just to get by on a daily basis.
The Scottish Government has attempted to mitigate these policies and have introduced a series of payments to support people when they need it.
The new payment for children will be fully delivered by the end of 2022. The payment will be monthly and linked to inflation.
In her statement to the Scottish Parliament Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:
“The Scottish Child Payment on its own stands to be one the most progressive policy proposals put forward since devolution. It will be backed by significant investment and Scotland will be the only part of the UK that is making such a serious commitment to reducing and ultimately eradicating child poverty.
“The Scottish Child Payment of £10 a week is bold and it is ambitious. And vitally, it will reduce child poverty. And tackling child poverty – head on – is the only way we can make Scotland the best place to grow up.”
It was also announced this week that £3 million in funding has been set aside to deliver community-based out-of-school care.
Starting next year the fund will be used for projects targeted at accessible and affordable out-of-school child care.
In time for Easter and running throughout this year funding has also been used to support work in many parts of Scotland to provide food and activities for children in holiday times.
Other Future Benefits To Be Paid in Scotland
Disability Assistance for Working Age People, the Scottish replacement for Personal Independence Payment, will be delivered in early 2021.
Disability Assistance for Children and Young People will be delivered in summer 2020.
The earlier introduction of the financial support for children 6 years and under means that the dates for other benefits the Scottish Government are introducing have been altered.
Disability Assistance for Older People will be introduced in 2021 instead of 2020 and the Scottish Carer’s Allowance will be put back a few months to early 2022.
Social Security Scotland will also not be fully set up until 2025.
Naomi Eisenstadt, a former Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality to the Scottish Government said:
“The best way to help children out of poverty is to get money into parents’ pockets so I am absolutely delighted that the Scottish Government is introducing the Scottish Child Payment.
“It’s great to see the Scottish Government taking such ambitious and direct action to shift the curve on child poverty.”
Click on this link to find out more about Benefits and Grants in Scotland
Reporter: Fiona Grahame