Parents help design Scotland‘s new Social Benefit
Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, met single parents today who have been involved in using their own personal experience of the UK benefits system to help make sure the new Scottish system is based on dignity and respect.
The ‘Best Start Grant’ is one of the first benefits to be delivered by the new Scottish Social Security Agency and Scottish Government staff have worked closely with parent service users to develop this new service.
Best Start Grants are payments to help low income parents. The Pregnancy and Baby Grant will be available before Christmas 2018 – a one-off £600 grant for the birth of a first child with £300 payments for 2nd and subsequent children. This will be followed by 2 further payments at key transition points in the early years by Summer 2019.
Satwat Rehman, Director of OPFS who met Shirley-Anne Somerville today said:
“OPFS has been very happy to reach out to women who have young children to involve them in supporting the development of the Best Start Grant. Scotland’s new social security system must be based on dignity, fairness and respect and involving parents who have great expertise through their own personal experience is a great start.”
Scottish Government staff set up sessions where users were able to try out the new application form (both online and in paper form), give feedback on the process and help the agency learn about their needs.
Ms Somerville, who is responsible for delivering Scotland’s first devolved social security system, said:
Ms Somerville said: “I was really pleased to visit OPFS and meet some of the parents who’ve been instrumental in shaping the Best Start Pregnancy and Baby Grant. With their help, we’ve created a benefit that will pay more money to more children than the UK Government’s current Sure Start Maternity Grant and we will pay it six months ahead of schedule.”
“We will continue to work with parents and families with experience of the current system to make sure our new Social Security system treats them with dignity, fairness and respect.”