A brand new benefit will provide eligible families with £10 a week for every child under 16, with introduction for under sixes starting by early 2021.
The Scottish Child Payment will give more immediate support to eligible families who need it most, as almost 60 per cent of all children in poverty live in a family with a child under the age of six.
It will be delivered to all remaining eligible families with children under 16 by the end of 2022, with no cap on the number of children in families.
When delivered in full, 410,000 children could be eligible for the income supplement – over a third of all children. It is estimated it will lift 30,000 children out of relative poverty by 2023/24.
For a family with two children under the age of 16 this new payment would mean additional support of more than £1,000 a year.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “Almost 60 per cent of all children in poverty live in a family where a child is under six years old, which is why we will deliver the payment for this group first. The Scottish Child Payment will not only help raise children out of poverty but is also designed to help prevent those just above the poverty threshold from sliding under.”
Naomi Eisenstadt, the First Minister’s former Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality said: “The best way to help children out of poverty is to get money into parents’ pockets so I am absolutely delighted that the Scottish Government is introducing the Scottish Child Payment.”
The payment will be administered by Social Security Scotland alongside the existing programme of devolved social security benefits.
Ms Campbell added: “We understand this may have an impact on the timetable for the delivery of devolved social security benefits. But we believe it is worth it to introduce a visionary new benefit that will make such a big difference to so many lives.”
The payment will be available a year earlier to under sixes than set out in the Scottish Government’s Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan. It will be paid monthly and increase annually in line with inflation.
Disability Assistance for Working Age People, the Scottish replacement for Personal Independence Payment, will be delivered in early 2021, as already outlined to Parliament. Disability Assistance for Children and Young People will be delivered in summer 2020 also as announced.
However it is expected that Disability Assistance for Older People will need to be introduced in 2021, rather than winter 2020 as originally planned.
Scottish Carer’s Allowance will be put back a few months to early 2022. The transfer of benefit cases from DWP to Social Security Scotland is expected to be completed by 2025 rather than 2024.
Further assessment on the impact of introducing the new benefit, including on IT systems, staffing, and supplier services, will be carried out over the summer and reported to Parliament.