“Game-changer” Scottish Child Payment opens early for applications

The new Scottish Child Payment – which was described as a “game-changer” in the fight to tackle child poverty by the Scottish Child Poverty Action Group – will open applications early from Monday 9 November.

This Covid-19 crisis has shown that we must all do what we can to support the health, welfare and wellbeing of the people of Scotland. We are facing an unprecedented situation that requires a practical response – at scale and pace – to help people most at risk of poverty in our community.

Since this pandemic started, the Scottish Government has prioritised the early introduction of the Scottish Child Payment for families with children under-6, despite the impact and disruption of Covid-19, is able to start payments from February 2021.

Scotland is the only part of the UK where this additional payment for families with young children will be available. The payment could support up to 194,000 children this financial year and the payment will be made every four weeks.

The new benefit will provide £10 per week for each child, and will be annually up-rated in line with inflation. It 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.

I truly believe that the Scottish Child Payment is one the most progressive policy proposals put forward since devolution, and will be a lifeline for families across Scotland – but we could do so much more with the full powers over social security at our disposal.

With independence, we can tackle child poverty – not leave children and families depending on the whim of this callous Tory government – which is still helplessly trying to defend its indefensible decision to deprive children in England of free school meals over the holidays.

I am proud that this government has worked to prioritise the early introduction of this bold, ambitious new benefit – guided by doing what we know is right to shift the curve on child poverty.