New parents living on low incomes across Scotland can expect to see a boost to the scale of financial support they receive via state benefits in the coming years.
The Scottish government is introducing what it calls a Best Start Grant (BSG) towards the end of this year and expects it to significantly increase the amounts of money given to new parents throughout the country.
BSGs will replace Sure Start Maternity Grants, which have been distributed on behalf of the UK government and the Department for Work and Pensions.
Expectations are that the incoming grant system will soon allocate “more money to more children than the Sure Start Maternity Grant”.
The new system will see parents on low incomes given £600 after the birth of their first child and a further £300 for any children they have thereafter.
Shirley-Anne Somerville, social security secretary at the Scottish parliament, has said the aim of the new scheme is to help low income families across Scotland who might be struggling financially and “feeling the effects of welfare cuts”.
“I am delighted that Social Security Scotland will start making payments of the Best Start Grant earlier than initially anticipated – before the end of this year,” Ms Somerville said in a statement.
“The regulations laid today allow us to proceed towards payment later this year and we will continue to work with those with experience of the current system to make sure that it’s easy for families to access their Best Start Pregnancy and Baby Grant.”
Plans are also in place to give low incomes families in Scotland extra financial support through benefits when their child or children start nursery or school.
Government estimates suggest that families with two children might eventually receive up to £1,900 in three payments as added social security support through the BSG system, with comparable UK provisions worth roughly £1,400.
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