Over 43,000 automatic payments to help families with cost of living

Over 43,000 automatic payments to help families with cost of living

Shirley-Anne Somerville

More than 43,000 payments have been paid automatically to help parents and carers with the cost of living and starting school, latest official figures show.

The introduction of automatic payments means that tens of thousands of people getting Scottish Child Payment have been awarded Best Start Grant Early Learning and School Age Payments without the need to apply separately.

For each of the two benefits, people are awarded one-off payments of £294.70 per child to help with costs like clothes, toys and school trips.

Some parents and carers don’t get Scottish Child Payment but could still qualify for the two grants and they have been urged to apply.

These include people who opted out of automatic payments and some who get housing benefit.

On a visit to Ibrox Primary School and nursery in Glasgow, cabinet secretary for social justice, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said: “The introduction of automatic payments means we are getting money to families quickly in the crucial early years of their child’s development, as these figures show. The majority of eligible people get these payments automatically, but we are urging those who don’t to check if they are eligible and get the support they are entitled to.

“The UK Government makes no equivalent provision to either the Early Learning or School Age Payments and removing the need for separate applications has made things even simpler for people who need this support most.

“While the UK Government chose to continue with welfare cuts in the middle of a cost of living crisis, the Scottish Government has allocated £3 billion each year to protect people as far as possible.

“In 2024-25 we are committing a record £6.3 billion for benefits expenditure, providing support to over 1.2 million people. This is £1.1 billion more than the UK Government gives to the Scottish Government for social security, demonstrating our commitment to tackling poverty.”

Satwat Rehman, the chief executive of charity One Parent Families Scotland, added: “Many of the single parents we support have limited access to digital devices so automation ensures that children in need will not lose out.

“Due to the inadequate levels of Westminster’s benefits these payments help at some of the most important stages of a young child’s development to give them the best start in life.”

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