The Scottish Commission on Social Security (SCoSS) is pleased to present its report on the draft Best Start Foods, Best Start Grants and Scottish Child Payment (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2022 (the ‘draft Regulations’) to the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament. This report has been completed in accordance with SCoSS’s pre-legislative scrutiny function, conferred by sections 22(1)(a) and 97 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018.
Scottish Child Payment is a top-up payment to families. It is being introduced in two phases. Phase One began paying families with children under age 6 from February 2021. Phase Two is due to start paying families with children under 16 from November 2022. Scottish Child Payment is central to achieving the Scottish Government’s child poverty reduction targets. The draft Regulations provide for the roll out of Scottish Child Payment to children under 16 years old. They also amend regulations to:
- increase the rate of Scottish Child Payment to £25 a week for all eligible children;
- introduce a lump sum payment of up to 12 weeks of Scottish Child Payment on the death of a child;
- remove the time limit for Social Security Scotland to start paying Scottish Child Payment four weeks after the application;
- allow older children to be added to a family’s existing Scottish Child Payment award without the need for a new application;
- shorten the length of time allowed after the end of entitlement to Scottish Child Payment for it to re-start without the need for a new application;
- amend a reference in the COVID-related relaxation of deadlines in Scottish Child Payment;
- clarify a provision about the start date for Scottish Child Payment entitlement;
- allow Social Security Scotland to award Best Start Grant early learning payment and school age payment automatically to people who get Scottish Child Payment, removing the need to apply; pay the higher rate of the Pregnancy and Baby Payment where an individual is responsible for more than one child to provide more support to refugees, kinship carers and people who have to leave home because of domestic abuse;
- remove the exclusion from Best Start Grant for a child who is looked after and accommodated by a local authority;
- widen and align the definition of ‘kinship carer’ in Best Start Grant, Best Start Foods and Scottish Child Payment;
- update references to having a child through a surrogacy arrangement in Best Start Grant, Best Start Foods and Scottish Child Payment.