The new Scottish Child Payment – which has been described as a “game-changer” in the fight to tackle child poverty – will open early for applications this month.
The Scottish Government has prioritised the early introduction of the new benefit for eligible families on low incomes with a child under 6 and despite the impact and disruption of Covid-19, is able to start payments from February 2021.
The new benefit will provide an extra £10 per week for each child, and be annually uprated in line with inflation. Introducing the benefit for all under-16s is planned for by the end of 2022.
The Payment is the biggest benefit that the Scottish Government has introduced to date, and the most ambitious anti-poverty measure currently being undertaken anywhere in the UK.
Shona Robison, Chair of the SNP’s Social Justice Commission, said:
“The Scottish Child Payment is an ambitious new benefit which will directly tackle child poverty across the country.
“This support is needed more than ever, and it’s early introduction for under-6s – almost two years ahead of the original commitment for a new payment – will be a lifeline for many such families across Scotland.
“While the SNP Government does everything it can to support children in poverty – including increasing support for families and providing free school meals through all holidays – the Tories at Westminster are still helplessly trying to defend their indefensible decision to deprive children of free school meals over the holidays.
“Tory cuts are driving too many families into poverty. With the full powers of independence, we can tackle child poverty – not leave children and families depending on the whim of this callous Tory government.”