Child Benefit: Britons to get £320 boost to payments over Christmas- are you eligible?

With the Government’s planned cut to the £20 raise on Universal Credit and the pending energy bill hike, many households are planning to tighten their belts over the coming months. Recent reports suggest the end to the Universal Credit uplift will push 800,000 Britons into poverty within the next year. As the UK Government plans to introduce more fiscal measures, the nation’s other devolved political bodies are deciding to step in to support families with children ahead of the holiday season.

The Scottish Government has announced plans to introduce a £320 benefit payment boost to families before Christmas to address child poverty.

This is a separate payment from Child Benefit, which is a reserved payment delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Eligible households with school children will get payments of £160 per individual child sometime in October and December.

Upon the new benefit payment’s announcement, two seperate Bridging Payments of £100 each had been made through local councils, bringing the total to £520 in support this year.

READ MORE: Woman, 60, faces losing home due to Universal Credit cut

In comparison, the UK Government’s Child Benefit scheme via the DWP awards claimants one of two weekly rates.

Child Benefit payments for the eldest or only child currently stand at £21.15 per week, while any additional children get a weekly payment of £14.

This money boost for Scottish households is the equivalent to the Scottish Child Payment (SCP).

SCP is a £10-a-week benefit which gives additional financial support for families who receive certain qualifying benefits, which include Universal Credit.

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The £320 payment boost for families will be available to all households under-16s by the end of next year, with quarterly Bridging Payments made in the interim.

In response to the economic downturn resulting from the pandemic, the Scottish Government plans to double SCP by £20 per week.

During the announcement, the Holyrood Government’s Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison outlined the reasoning behind this additional Child Benefit payment.

Ms Robison said: “We are determined to build a better future for Scotland’s children and we know how important these payments will be to families in need this winter – particularly with rising fuel bills and Christmas just around the corner.

“Together the SCP and Bridging Payments will put an estimated £130million in the pockets of low income families this year, providing support as we recover from the pandemic.

“Scottish Child Payment is already the most ambitious anti-poverty measure currently being undertaken anywhere in the UK and we have committed to doubling it to £20-a-week per child as soon as possible in this parliamentary term.

“It stands in stark contrast to the indefensible move by the UK Government to withdraw £20-a-week in Universal Credit from those who need it most.”

In reaction to the benefit payment boost, Councillor Gail Macgregor, COSLA’s Resources spokesperson, explained the impact the extra assistance will have for working families.

Mr Macgregor said: “Councils are pleased to be able to ensure that eligible low income families have access to an additional £520 this year and next through these Bridging Payments.

“It is important families who have been hardest hit by the pandemic have these vital additional funds as we move forward with the challenging recovery process.

“This demonstrates how local governments can reach in and support families in our communities.”

Satwat Rehman, the CEO of charity One Parent Families Scotland, asserted her belief that the Scottish Government are taking the correct course of action by paying households extra support ahead of Christmas.

Ms Rehman explained: “The SCP Bridging Payments have been a welcome support to many single parent families supported by One Parent Families Scotland, many of whom are struggling to make choices between heating their homes and feeding their children and themselves.”

Households in Scotland, who are currently receiving benefits, should reach out to their local council for guidance on receiving this payment boost.

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