New figures released this week have revealed families in Renfrewshire have benefited by over £2.8 million from the Scottish Government’s Best Start programme since its launch in December 2018.

The scheme provides lump sum payments at birth, another when eligible for early years learning, and at the age a child starts school, and can total £1,177 in cash if each grant is claimed for a first child or £856
for any other children.

The scheme also provides up to £18 a week in support towards the costs of milk and healthy foods which can be spent anywhere that accepts debit cards.

The payments are in addition to the Baby Box programme, which provides essentials for a baby’s first months at no charge to the parents or carers.

7,665 successful applications have been made by parents in Renfrewshire since December 2018, resulting in a total of £2,838,210 worth of payments issued by Social Security Scotland.

Across Scotland as a whole over £88 million has been paid out as a result of 233,280 successful applications in the three and a half years since the Best Start payments were introduced.

The new figures were welcomed by Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP, Gavin Newlands. He said: “The release of these statistics clearly shows the benefit the Sure Start programme is bringing to families in Renfrewshire and across Scotland.

“Providing this support is one of the key planks of the Scottish Government’s strategy to tackle child poverty, and while there is still a long way to go I am proud that our country’s political leadership takes these challenges so seriously.

“The Scottish Government are doing what they can to bring children in this country out of poverty, but the fact remains that most benefits and financial powers still rest with the Westminster government and the UK Treasury.

“In the middle of the worst cost of living crisis in nearly half a century the UK Chancellor must urgently follow the lead of his Scottish counterpart and boost measures designed to support the poorest and most vulnerable families in society.

“Anyone who wants to check their eligibility should visit socialsecurity.gov.scot or call 0800 182 2222 to see if they might qualify and for information on how to apply.”

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