Making the most of the Scottish Child Payment

Emma Congreve, Deborah Hay and Jim McCormick (JRF), Russell Gunson and Rachel Statham (IPPR Scotland)

This briefing is the second from a joint JRF and IPPR Scotland programme looking at the Scottish Government’s proposals for a new social security payment to help more children break free from child poverty in Scotland.

How we can build further on the Scottish Government’s hugely welcome proposals for a Scottish Child Payment as it is implemented?

What you need to know

The overriding message we heard from people with experience of low income was that the Scottish Child Payment must be a predictable, flexible and high take-up payment. The report outlines recommendations for further improving the Scottish Child Payment including:

  • It should be paid fortnightly, not four-weekly as proposed, with a choice of frequency of payment for families developed over time.
  • It should provide families with at least three-months of a rolling guarantee of budgeting certainty, avoiding the volatility found in the UK benefits system.
  • A ‘double-lock’ should protect the value of the Payment each year – increasing by the higher of earnings growth or the inflation rate faced by low-income families.
  • It should be a ‘gateway’ to other forms of support for low-income families.
  • Consideration of retaining an under-sixes premium, increasing the age cut-off for eligible children from 16- to 18-years-old and, over the longer-term, implementing an additional school holiday lump-sum payment.