The Government announced in the emergency Budget that, from April 2011, payment of the Sure Start maternity grant would be protected at the current rate of £500, but limited to the first child. Amending regulations were laid today restricting payment to families where their new baby, or babies if it is a multiple birth, will be the only child under 16 in their household. The regulations will come into force on
Sure Start maternity grants are available to families in receipt of income support, income-related employment and support allowance, income-based jobseeker's allowance, pension credit, child tax credit at a rate above the family element, or working tax credit that also includes a disability or severe disability element. This broad eligibility ensures that the grant is as widely available as possible among families with lower incomes both in and out of work.
Restricting payment in this way ensures that the limited resources available support families when they need it most. Expenditure is inevitably highest when a new baby is the only child in the household and there are no baby items that can be reused or recycled.
This measure will save £73 million a year as part of the Government's deficit management plans.