Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
MSPS hail Scottish child payment boost
Benefit set to jump from £10 to £20
Monklands’ MSPS have welcomed plans to double the Scottish child payment to £20 a week from next April.
Figures from Social Security Scotland indicate that the increase will benefit 10,715 youngsters in North Lanarkshire – the second-highest local authority total in Scotland – through payments totalling nearly £2.5m.
In neighbouring South Lanarkshire, payments of nearly £1.9m would be made to the families of 8040 children aged under six in low-income households.
The benefit, currently £10, was first introduced in February and will be further extended next year to eligible families of all children aged under 16.
Airdrie and Shotts representative Neil Gray, who is convener of Holyrood’s social security committee, called the existing benefit “already game-changing”.
The MSP is also deputy convener of the SNP’S social justice commission and said: “We suggested as part of our report that an increase in the Scottish child payment would be most beneficial to low-income families, and to hear the First Minister say that this will become a reality from April is fantastic news.
“Following the scrapping of the Universal Credit uplift, many families in Scotland were left worrying about how they were going to make ends meet and the Scottish Government listened to those worries.”
Constituency neighbour Fulton Macgregor also praised the increased payment, saying: “I’m delighted that at least 10,715 children across North Lanarkshire will have their payment doubled in four months’ time.
“More than £1m has been provided to families across the area since February, and doubling the payment to £20 is the type of bold action that makes a real difference to people’s lives.”
Statistics from Social Security Scotland show that North Lanarkshire residents received a combined total of nearly £9.1m in benefits during the 2020-2021 financial year, with those in South Lanarkshire receiving more than £7.2m.
The benefits included support for carers, early years, job start payments and funeral support, with the council areas respectively receiving the second – and fourth – highest local authority totals in the country.
David Wallace, chief executive of Social Security Scotland, said: “I’m proud to say that, despite the challenges Covid-19 presented, we continued to pay out benefits throughout the year and deliver high levels of service to our clients.
“We introduced three brand-new benefits – job start, child winter heating assistance and the Scottish child payment – all while the majority of our staff worked remotely.”