A series of payment channels collectively referred to as the Best Start Grants are helping low-income Scottish families stay out of debt and cover the costs of everyday essentials more easily.
The grants were introduced by the Scottish government in mid-2019 in order to give a measure of financial support to some of the least well off families around the country.
A report looking at the effectiveness of the schemes has concluded that the grants have had the desired impact and given thousands of families a greater degree of financial resilience than they might otherwise have had.
The grants are designed to be accessible to adults with children as they reach key stages in their young lives with parents eligible to make claims for support regardless of whether they are in or out of work.
The key stipulation from government is that claimants should be in receipt of at least one of eight specific benefits, namely the Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit.
An evaluation of the impact of the Best Start Grants so far suggests that they are having a tangible and positive impact on the lives of people living on low incomes across Scotland.
“Our full Best Start Grant package has been in place since June 2019,” said Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, social security secretary.
“I’m delighted that just a year and a half later that we are already getting feedback that this money is making a real difference to people’s lives.”
Ms Somerville noted too that many people assume the Best Start Grants are only available to people who are out of work but she was keen to emphasise the point that this is not the case.
“We continue to work hard to make sure that everyone accesses the support they are entitled to,” she said. “I’m glad to see so many families who are in work and on low incomes getting this extra boost.”
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