SNP conference: New winter payments for low income families
Families with children in receipt of free school meals will receive a £100 direct payment before Christmas, as part of plans set to be announced by Nicola Sturgeon at SNP conference later today.
With the payments part of a new £100m winter fund, aimed at supporting low income households, the First Minister said the move would help those “struggling most with the impact of COVID over the winter months”.
Around a quarter of the £100m fund will be spent on winter grants to low income families under the plans, benefiting about 150,000 households.
The SNP leader is also expected to use her speech to SNP conference to announce new funding to help people with fuel bills, to support those who are homeless and to prevent loneliness and isolation amongst older people this winter.
Sturgeon will say: “We will shortly become the only part of the UK to give low income families an extra £10 per week for every child - initially for children up to age 6 and then for every child up to age 16. This has been described as a game-changer in the fight to end child poverty.
“The first payments will be made in February. But I know that for families struggling now, February is still a long way off.
“So I am announcing today a £100 million package to bridge that gap, and help others struggling most with the impact of Covid over the winter months. It will include money to help people pay their fuel bills and make sure children don’t go hungry. It will offer additional help for the homeless, and fund an initiative to get older people online and connected.
“And, most importantly of all, it will provide a cash grant of £100 for every family with children in receipt of free school meals. The money will be paid before Christmas and families can use it for whatever will help them through the winter. That could be food, new shoes or a winter coat for the kids.
“Families will know best what they need. That’s not for government to decide. Initiatives like this are not just about providing practical help to those who need it most - they are an expression of our values and of the kind of country we are seeking to build.”