The amounts of money distributed through the Scottish Child Payments scheme will double to £20 per week, per child from April 2022, it has been announced.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed the Scottish government’s plan to double the current value of those payments next year to provide more support to struggling families across the country.
Scottish Child Payments were first introduced in February 2021 as a weekly boost for parents living on low incomes and finding it tough to make ends meet.
The payments are seen as an important means of helping to alleviate child poverty across the country, which is an issue first minister Sturgeon has insisted her government is determined to address while in power in Holyrood.
Currently the payments are allocated to families to correspond with each child they have under the age of six but plans are in place to see those £10 per week payments being made per child under-16 by the end of 2022.
It is also part of the Scottish government’s current plans to see those £10 per week payments for children aged under 16 doubled to £20 per week within the life of the current parliament.
Expectations are that the more than 100,000 children in Scotland aged under six will benefit from the newly doubled payments from April next year.
It’s estimated that more than 400,000 children across the country will benefit from the payments once the scheme is expanded to incorporate under-16s as well.
“This is the boldest and most ambitious anti-poverty measure anywhere in the UK,” said Nicola Sturgeon in a statement.
“Delivering it isn’t easy. It will involve hard choices elsewhere in our budget. But it is a choice we are opting to make,” she added.
A number of organisations that work in support of low-income families and people struggling with debt problems have welcomed the first minister’s announcements on the child payments.
Stephanie Millar from Citizens Advice Scotland has described the doubling of the weekly payments as good news for “families facing a perfect storm of rising bills and stagnant incomes”.
Meanwhile, Chris Birt from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said the increase to child payments is “welcome news that will provide vital support for families with young children”.
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