School Age Payment to help low-income families prepare for new term

Low-income families will be able to apply for financial support to help with the costs of preparing for school from June 3, the Scottish Government has announced.

The School Age Payment will enable eligible families to receive £250 to help with costs associated with the transition to school – such as for educational toys and after school activities.

It will be the latest payment introduced under the Best Start grants programme, which replaces the UK Government’s Sure Start Maternity Grant.

The benefit follows the rollout of the Pregnancy and Baby Payment in December, which aims to help cover some of the costs of having children.

Regulations for the School Age Payment have been laid in Parliament and, once approved, the payment will then open for applications.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “We are committed to doing all we can to make sure Scotland is the best place for a child to grow up.

“We want to increase financial support to families, bringing equality to children across Scotland by giving them a help towards a fairer start.

“This payment follows the successful launch of the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, which received an unprecedented number of applications.

“I am delighted we have now paid out £1.3 million to eligible families on low incomes in just its first month of operation.

“The new £250 payment will help families with the costs of preparing for school and will use the same eligibility as the extremely successful Pregnancy and Baby Payment, which has been welcomed by families across Scotland.

“The School Age Payment does not exist under the UK benefits system – demonstrating this Government’s ambition to deliver a better social security system.”