Figures for Scottish births publicised by Social Security Scotland show lockdown in 2020 preceded a deeper fall in Scotland's birthrate.
SSS is encouraging families who have welcomed a new arrival during Scotland’s peak baby month of July to find out if they are eligible for family payments.
According to figures from National Records of Scotland, July is the month most of Scotland’s babies are born in Scotland. 4,266 babies were born in July 2020 despite there being an overall decline in babies born in Scotland in 2020. December was the quietest month with 3692 babies born, down from 4933 only 10 years ago, a fall of 25%.
Parents who get tax credits or certain benefits could be eligible for family payments including Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Scottish Child Payment and Best Start Foods.
The Pregnancy and Baby Payment is open to parents from the 24th week of pregnancy up to the day a baby is six months old and Scottish Child Payment is a recurring payment of £40 every four weeks for eligible children.
Minister for Social Security Ben Macpherson said: "Scottish Child Payment and Best Start Grant payments can help ease some of the financial pressure - especially at a time when many people have been hit hard economically by Covid-19.
“At a busy time for expectant and new mums, we wanted the application to be accessible and straightforward. Parents and carers can use the same form to apply for Scottish Child Payment, Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods and it only takes an average of 12 minutes for those applying online.
“Social Security Scotland also offers a pre-paid Best Start Foods card for eligible families that can be used to buy healthy foods for children under three.
“I’d encourage anyone who thinks they might be eligible for these payments to find out more and apply today.”
Jane Brumpton, Chief Executive of Early Years Scotland, said: “The peace of mind that comes with knowing there is additional financial support available for children and families is incredibly important, and it is crucial in supporting their wellbeing as we exit the pandemic during these very challenging times.”
- Scottish Child Payment is payment of £40 every four weeks for each eligible child under the age of six, there is no limit on the number of children a family can claim for.
- The payment will be rolled out to under 16s by the end of 2022 subject to the Scottish Government receiving the necessary data from the UK Government.
- In the meantime, the Scottish Government will introduce bridging payments of £520 to be paid in both 2021 and 2022 for those receiving Free School Meals due to low income.
- Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment is a £606 payment for a first child and £303 for other children.
- Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment is a £252.50 payment when a child is between the ages of 2 and 3.5 years.
- Best Start Grant School Age Payment is a £252.50 payment to help eligible families with the costs of starting school.
- Best Start Foods is money every four weeks on a pre-paid chip and pin Mastercard. The amount is £17.00 every four weeks during pregnancy and for any children between one and three years old. The card can be used to buy healthy food including eggs, milk, fruit, vegetables and pulses.
- People can apply online at mygov.scot/benefits or by calling Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222
- National Records of Scotland birth rates publications can be found at https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-by-theme/vital-events/general-publications/weekly-and-monthly-data-on-births-and-deaths/monthly-data-on-births-and-deaths-registered-in-scotland
- The image above is an extract from Table 6 accessed via the link above. The total for the latest month will be an undercount of the final figure and is expected to increase, as births can be registered up to three weeks after occurrence (and after production of this table).