December Bridging Payment to double to £260
Families of an estimated 145,000 children will benefit from extra support this winter to help with cost of living pressures – backed by Scottish Government investment of £18.9 million.
Bridging Payments were introduced in 2021 ahead of the extension of the Scottish Child Payment to 6-15-year-olds. The final quarterly Bridging Payment, due in December, will now be doubled to £260, meaning families will receive up to £650 per eligible child this year.
All children registered to receive free school meals on the basis of family low income are eligible and will receive this payment automatically.
Total Scottish Government funding for the Bridging Payments will increase to an estimated £169m across 2021 and 2022.
This is in addition to the Scottish Child Payment which will be extended to all eligible under-16s from 14 November and will rise to £25 per child per week on the same date – a 150% increase in the benefit within eight months.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am proud of the work the Scottish Government is doing to tackle child poverty. The Scottish Child Payment is paid to eligible families and is unique in the United Kingdom. It started for under-6s at £10 per week per eligible child. In April we doubled it to £20. Five weeks from today we will increase it again, to £25 and will also extend it to families with children up to age 16.
“That is vital financial help for well over 100,000 children, delivered in time for Christmas. That is the sign of a government with the right priorities.
“But we need to do more because we know this winter is going to be really tough. Rather than looking forward to Christmas, too many families will be dreading it because they don’t know if they can afford to heat their homes or even pay for food.”
She added: “As part of our help to the poorest families over last year and this, ahead of rolling out the Scottish Child Payment to under 16s, we have made quarterly bridging payments of £130 to children and young people in receipt of free school meals.
“I am delighted that the Scottish Government will double the December Payment from £130 to £260.
“That will help put food on the Christmas table for families of 145,000 children and young people. I don’t pretend it will make all of their worries go away – no government with our limited powers can ever do that. But I hope this investment of almost £20 million will bring a bit of Christmas cheer to those who need it most.”