Over 43,000 automatic payments to help families with cost of living
Best Start Grants awarded without need for a separate application
More than 43,000 payments have been paid automatically to help parents and carers with the cost of living and starting school, latest official figures show.
The introduction of automatic payments means that tens of thousands of people getting Scottish Child Payment have been awarded Best Start Grant Early Learning and School Age Payments without the need to apply separately.
For each of the two benefits, people are awarded one-off payments of £294.70 per child to help with costs like clothes, toys and school trips.
Some parents and carers don’t get Scottish Child Payment but could still qualify for the two grants and they have been urged to apply.
These include people who opted out of automatic payments and some who get housing benefit.
On a visit to Ibrox Primary School and nursery in Glasgow, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
“The introduction of automatic payments means we are getting money to families quickly in the crucial early years of their child’s development, as these figures show.
“The majority of eligible people get these payments automatically, but we are urging those who don’t to check if they are eligible and get the support they are entitled to.
“The UK Government makes no equivalent provision to either the Early Learning or School Age Payments and removing the need for separate applications has made things even simpler for people who need this support most.
“While the UK Government chose to continue with welfare cuts in the middle of a cost of living crisis, the Scottish Government has allocated £3 billion each year to protect people as far as possible.
“In 2024-25 we are committing a record £6.3 billion for benefits expenditure, providing support to over 1.2 million people.
“This is £1.1 billion more than the UK Government gives to the Scottish Government for social security, demonstrating our commitment to tackling poverty."
Satwat Rehman, the chief executive of charity One Parent Families Scotland said:
“Many of the single parents we support have limited access to digital devices so automation ensures that children in need will not lose out.
“Due to the inadequate levels of Westminster’s benefits these payments help at some of the most important stages of a young child's development to give them the best start in life.”
The Scottish Government committed to a record £6.3 billion for benefits expenditure in its 2024-25 budget, announced in December Scottish Budget 2024 to 2025: Deputy First Minister statement - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
School Age Payment is a £294.70 grant per child to help with the costs of preparing for school when a child is first old enough to start primary school. Early Learning Payment is the same amount to help with the costs of pre-school. Best Start Grant - Social security - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
People who do not get automatic awards can check eligibility and apply online at mygov.scot/benefits or by calling Social Security Scotland free on 0800 182 2222.
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