The Scottish Government are to invest billions into helping households with the rising cost of living.
With family benefits, £294.4 million will be invested into Scottish Child Payment and others, these include Best Start Grants, Best Start Foods, and Bridging Payments. Free school meals will also be given funding of 364 million to ensure that all children in p4 and p5 will be given free school meals during term time, as well as alternative holiday provision for eligible children.
The two largest investments will be for concessionary travel and help with the rising bill costs, £306 million will be provided to allow for concessionary travel, whilst £437 will be given to help with the reduction of household bills. This will be done through the form of Council Tax Reduction and Water Charge Reduction.
Shona Robison, Social Justice Secretary, said:
“Within our limited budget, we have allocated almost £3 billion in this financial year to help families and households face the increased cost of living. This includes support for energy bills, childcare, health, and travel, as well as social security payments not available anywhere else in the UK.
We are increasing our Scottish Child Payment to £25 per child per week when we extent it to under 16s by the end of 2022. This will mean a 150% increase in less than a year and around 400,000 eligible for this vital anti-poverty benefit.
Westminster holds most of the powers needed to tackle the cost-of-living crisis as well as borrowing and resourcing powers we do not currently have. This includes energy, the minimum wage, National Insurance and 85% of social security spending.
The UK Government’s decade of austerity and welfare reforms have placed people in a particularly precarious position. That is why we have continually urged them to use all the powers and fiscal headroom at their disposal to put together a comprehensive action plan to address the long-term impacts of rising prices and provide immediate support to struggling households.
In the meantime, we will continue to use our limited budget and constrained powers to work for people and help cushion the impact of UK Government policies.”