Low-income Aberdeenshire and Moray families urged to apply now for grant worth £10/week for each child under 6
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Applications are now being taken for a scheme that will pay £10 per week for each child aged under 6 to low-income Scottish families.
The new Scottish Child Payment which will be introduced on February 15, but applications are being taken now to help manage the expected demand.
The new benefit is planned to be fully rolled out to children under the age of 16 by the end of 2022.
Shirley-Anne Somerville, the Social Security Secretary , said: "The Scottish Child Payment is the most ambitious anti-poverty measure currently being undertaken anywhere in the UK.
"Almost 60 per cent of all children in poverty live in a family where a child is under six.
"Therefore, I am proud we are able to introduce it early for families with young children – almost two years ahead of the original commitment for this new benefit to be introduced.
"We are expecting a significant demand for this new payment so are opening applications early and will make the first payments in around 15 weeks.
"A great deal of effort has gone into creating this payment – including overcoming the impact of Covid-19 on plans and work schedules to ensure we get money to the families who need it.
"I encourage all parents and carers who may be eligible to apply now.
"I am asking families to help us by getting their applications in early so that we can process and start making payments as quickly as possible once the benefit starts in February next year.
"Significantly more families are now relying on benefits due to the events of this year – some perhaps for the first time – and this payment will help lift children in Scotland out of poverty."
Scotland is the only part of the UK where this additional payment for families with young children will be available.
The Scottish Government estimates it could support up to 194,000 children this financial year.
Paul Carberry, Action for Children Director for Scotland, said: "Our staff see the effects of child poverty every day and the impact it has on many of the children and families whom we support, care for and work with.
"We recognise that the impact of child poverty is not only felt in purely financial means but is also measured by children having an increase in poverty of opportunity.
"One simple act to help reduce child poverty is by putting money in the pockets of parents.
"The Scottish Child Payment can ease the struggle some families face in providing the basics and necessities of life.
"The impacts of poverty are profound for Scotland’s children, from poor mental and physical health and wellbeing to poor performance at school.
"The Scottish Child Payment will offer vital financial support for children, young people, and their families.
"It can give back choice and dignity.
"We urge all eligible families to apply for this."
Apply by visiting mygov.scot/benefits or calling 0800 182 2222.