New benefit pays out £3.5 million in first three months
29th April 2019
More than 9,700 families receive Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby payment.
Nearly 10,000 low income families across Scotland got help from the new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby payment, official statistics show.
Payments were made to 2,300 families who have had their first child, according to the first published data for the new benefit.
Payments were also made to 7,300 families who had a child already and have now welcomed a new-born into their household - families who would have received nothing under the previous UK Government scheme.
In the entire 2017/18 financial year, the UK Government paid out a total of £2 million of Sure Start Maternity Grant Payments in Scotland, compared with £3.5 million, which has been paid in the first three months of the Scottish Government's Pregnancy and Baby Payment.
Families in every part of Scotland have benefited.
Cabinet Secretary for Social Security Shirley-Anne Somerville said:"These statistics show what we can do with our social security powers to support families across the country. I am delighted that three quarters of the payments were for families who just wouldn't have got this vital financial support under the previous UK Government scheme.
"I am committed to making sure that every child gets the support they need to have the best start in life. The huge take-up of this new benefit in its first three months highlights just what can be achieved when you design a service with the people who will actually use it. In doing so, we have simplified the application process and offered multiple ways to apply. We have found out where we need to promote the payment and who we need to work with - including health and childcare professionals - to make sure that people know that they are entitled.
"We will build on the success of Pregnancy and Baby Payment with the new Early Learning Payment that has launched today. This, along with the final Best Start Grant School Age Payment that opens on 3 June, will contribute towards making Scotland the best place for a child to grow up. We want to increase financial support to families, bringing equality to children across Scotland by giving them help towards a fairer start."
The full first official statistics publication for Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment can be found at https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Social-Welfare/SocialSecurityforScotland
The Pregnancy and Baby Payment provides £600 for a first child and £300 for any siblings thereafter
Children who are not the first born in the family have no entitlement to Sure Start Grant, the UK Government benefit that the new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment has replaced in Scotland.
75% of payments made were to children with older siblings.
The statistics show that families in every local authority and health board area have benefited from the Pregnancy and Baby payment.
Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment opened for applications on Monday 10 December and replaced the UK Government Sure Start Maternity Grant in Scotland
The Pregnancy and Baby Payment is available from 24 weeks in pregnancy up to the point when a child becomes six months old. It is £600 for first children and £300 for all children thereafter to help families on certain benefits and tax credits with the costs associated with welcoming a new baby.
These statistics have been released on the same day that the Scottish Government has launched the second payment in the Best Start Grant package. Social Security Scotland is taking applications from today for the Early Learning Payment - £250 for low income families with a child ages between two and three-and-a-half to help with the costs at this key stage in early years.
The final part of the Best Start Grant package – the School Age Payment – opens for applications on Monday 3 June. This is £250 to help low income families at the time when a child would normally take up a school place.
Applications for Best Start Grant payments can be made online, by phone or post. For more information on these benefits clients can call 0800 182 2222 or visit mygov.scot/benefits
A marketing campaign for Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment was launched in February to ensure that awareness of this benefit continues to remain high and so that everyone who is entitled knows about it and applies.