“This election is an opportunity to back the next generation of young Scots, ensure they have the best start in life and improve the opportunities available to them when they grow up”, said Stuart McMillan – SNP candidate for Greenock & Inverclyde, commenting on the SNP plans to provide increased support for parents and families.
If elected as the next Scottish Government, the SNP will use the new social security powers coming to the Scottish Parliament to invest in Scotland’s next generation. This will include introducing a new Early Years and Maternity Grant, replacing and expanding the current Sure Start grant which has been cut by the Tories.
The grant will increase support for new mums on low incomes to £600 when a child is born and introduce support of £250 when a child goes to nursery and when they start school.
The SNP will also reinstate payments of £300 at birth for second and subsequent children, previously abolished by the Tories. A family with two children could receive £1900 of support during a child’s early years. The policy could benefit 12,000 new mums and children.
Alongside protecting households from Labour’s plans to increase basic rate taxes and Tory plans to charge for prescriptions, the SNP manifesto will set out key benefits to Scotland’s parents and children from a re-elected SNP government.
The SNP will also:
• Extend Free School Meals to all children benefiting from 30 hours a week of free nursery care
• Reduce council tax bills for 77,000 low income families with children by an average of £173
• Increase Carers allowance to the same level as Job Seekers Allowance
• And double free childcare to thirty hours a week for all 3 and 4 year olds and vulnerable two year olds
Stuart McMillan added:
“Supporting our youngest children and making sure every child gets the best possible start in life is a central responsibility of any government.
“Our new Early Years and Maternity grant will help new mums when they are expecting and support young children in their earliest years of life.
“An estimated 12,000 families will benefit from support when their child is born, when they start nursery and when they go to school.
“And unlike the Tory cuts to Sure Start grants across the UK, when we have the power we will ensure that support is available for all children – not just the first child.
“That is just one way we can help those on low incomes meet the costs that come with raising our children. Our Council Tax reforms protect those in smaller houses and will see bills reduced by an average of £173 for 77,000 low income families with children.
“We will extend childcare to 30 hours for all three and four year olds, and vulnerable two year olds, and we will make sure that all those children receiving 30 hours of childcare also benefit from free lunches – just as young children in primary school benefit from free school meals.
“There is a stark contrast between our support for young families, and Labour’s attempts to increase the taxes on some of the hardest-pressed households in our society.”