THE Scottish Government has marked the first anniversary of the Scottish Child Payment’s rollout by issuing a fresh appeal for eligible parents to apply for the benefit, which is intended to provide extra financial support to those caring for a child.

Since its launch in 2021 as part of the Tackling Child Poverty Action Plan, roughly 106,000 children have benefited from an extra £520 a year. From April, the £10 weekly payment – unique to Scotland – will double to £20.

Commenting, Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said: “The Scottish Government is determined to deliver on our ambition to eradicate child poverty in Scotland. So this year we will be even bolder with the ambitious and transformational measures we will take.

“From April, our Scottish Child Payment will double to £20 a week – four times the amount anti-poverty campaigners originally asked for. Together with our Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods payments, this will provide a package of financial support worth £8400 by the time an eligible family’s first child turns six.

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“The extension to 16-year-olds will continue this progress with the number of eligible children increasing to 430,000. In 2023-24, we estimate the Scottish Child Payment could lift 40,000 children out of poverty.

“This is part of the national mission we have set ourselves and society to tackle child poverty and our focus must be relentless and constant.”

Robison appealed to the public to help spread the word about the Scottish Child Payment to those who may be unaware they are eligible.

“Because many people learn about Scottish Child Payment through word of mouth, if you think a friend or family member might qualify, please encourage them to find out more and to help to ensure that everyone eligible gets the support they are entitled too.

“This way, we can all play a part in ensuring the continued success of Scottish Child Payment, advancing our fight to eradicate child poverty and building an equal and fairer country.”

John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group, also commented: “The Scottish Child Payment is already providing vital financial support to families, helping parents give the best possible start in life to their children.

“Doubling its value from April comes at a critical time, helping families stay afloat as food and energy prices soar. The roll out to eligible children over five is now eagerly anticipated and really can’t come soon enough.”

It is hoped that by the end of 2022, the payment will extend to include all eligible children under the age of 16, provided necessary information can be obtained via the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

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Last week, UK Minister Chloe Smith said the delivery plan for this extension was on track to meet the Scottish Government’s timetable, but warned against any public announcements being made “before there is clarity on what support DWP can provide”.

This provoked a defiant response from Scotland’s Social Security Minister Ben Macpherson, who replied: “It is for Scottish Ministers to make public statements as we see fit regarding policies that we are intent on delivering, while working professionally with UK Ministers on the delivery of devolved social security.”

More information on applying for the Scottish Child Payment can be found here.