New grants give our little ones the best start in life

The new grant will help parents and carers with the costs of pregnancy and caring for a baby.
The new grant will help parents and carers with the costs of pregnancy and caring for a baby.

There’s more help available for low income families with applications now open for pregnancy and baby payments.

The first Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payments will be made before Christmas.

The payment will see eligible applicants receive £600 for their first child, £100 more than the DWP Sure Start Maternity Grant it replaces.

This payment also provides £300 for all subsequent children – meaning there is no cap on the number of children it supports, unlike the current UK Government equivalent.

In addition to the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, by summer 2019, two additional early years payments will be introduced.

The first £250 payment will be made around the time a child starts nursery, to help with the costs of early learning, and a further £250 when they start school.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “I am delighted we will be delivering the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment earlier than originally planned, providing low income families with increased financial support.

“I am particularly pleased that by not capping children, babies born in the last six months who already have a big brother or sister, and had no support from the UK Government because they were not the first child, will be eligible to get their payment.

“With the Early Learning and School Age Payments this means that for a two child family, the Best Start Grant will provide £1400-£1900 more than they would get under the UK legacy benefit.

“That’s a substantial investment to ensure our under fives get the best possible start in life and reflects this government’s emphasis on the early years.”

The Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payments will be delivered by Social Security Scotland.

Parents/carers will be eligible if they are the mother of the child, her partner, or have a young mother dependent on them, and get certain qualifying benefits.

Qualifying benefits include Universal Credit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.