Best Start Grant (Falkirk East)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at on 22 February 2024.

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Photo of Shirley-Anne Somerville Shirley-Anne Somerville Scottish National Party

T he member raises an important point about ensuring that everyone who is eligible and entitled to a benefit is encouraged and supported to apply, so that they can get what they are entitled to.

I can confirm that the auto awards scheme is in place. Early learning and school age payments are an important part of the work that we are doing on automation, which makes it easier for families to maximise their take-up. Some of the official statistics might be playing catch-up in showing that, but we are confident that the automated payments are working successfully in driving up take-up. Latest estimates of take-up rates indicate a significant impact from automation, with the take-up of the school age payment rising from 77 per cent in 2021-22 to 97 per cent in 2022-23.

Social Security Scotland continues to raise awareness, but I am happy to reassure the member that we are continuing to keep a close eye on that. I encourage all members to work with their constituents to ensure that we do everything that we can to raise awareness of the Scottish child payment and the associated family payments that are associated with and attached to it.