Single Parents meet First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Single Parents who helped co-design Scotland’s new early years benefits met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today in Glasgow. 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. Best Start 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.
Ms Sturgeon met ten parents who contributed to the design of the application process and helped make sure it was accessible and easy to understand.
FM Nicola Sturgeon said:
“The new Best Start Grant provides much needed help for families on low income on the birth of children. £600 for the first child really does help with all the essentials that new parents need on the birth of a baby. It’s providing really important help and I’m delighted that it’s now underway and parents across the country start to benefit from it. For parents on low income this makes a crucial difference. It gives the money they need to provide the essentials they need for a new baby. Also, it’s about making sure that every child gets a good start in life, and an equal start in life, I think that’s the important principal as well as the practical support that is provided being important as well.”
Satwat Rehman CEO of One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) warmly welcomed the introduction of the new payment.
“OPFS has supported parents to play a key role in helping design the new best start grant, ensuring that the reduction of child poverty is one of the guiding principles. The fact that payments are in place before Christmas will be a life-line to some of our most hard-pressed families”
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.
Connie is 25 and lives in Glasgow; her baby is five months old.
“I heard about the Pregnancy and Baby Payment through OPFS, who told me all about the grant and how to apply for it,” she said.
The payment will go toward clothes, nappies and shoes for my son, babies grow so quickly and he’s five months now.
This will make a real difference to me, it’s not a payment I was expecting. It will make life a bit easier, my income stays the same, but my outgoings are higher as this is my third child. My other children are four and five so the things I had for them I don’t have anymore, so I’m kind of starting again.”