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% 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:
Scotland is facing a spike in child poverty as a result of welfare cuts imposed by the UK Government.
We will not stand by and simply watch that happen. We will act.
We will help families with £10 per week for every eligible child under 16 years old in Scotland, with over a third of all children benefitting.
That can make a massive difference to thousands of children across Scotland – and tackle child poverty head on. It will mean more families are able to make ends meet.
Almost 60% 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.
This is a real preventative measure that will tackle child poverty head on in Scotland and help mitigate against continuing UK Government austerity.
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.
It’s great to see the Scottish Government taking such ambitious and direct action to shift the curve on child poverty.
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.