Best start grants will be paid to new mothers before Christmas

By Lucy Ashton

DSCF6608Christmas is all about the birth of a child in poor circumstances.

Dumbarton and Lomond MSP, Jackie Baillie, has welcomed news that the new Scottish Social Security Agency will begin taking applications for the Best Start Grant (BSG) Pregnancy and Baby Payment from 10 December.

The timeline means that the first payments will be made before Christmas.

The new payment will replace the current Sure Start Maternity Grant and will provide families on low incomes with some additional income.   A £600 payment will be made to families for their first child, with an additional £300 available for subsequent children.

Mothers who give birth to multiple children at the same time will receive an additional £300.

Three payments will eventually be made available to families – the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, the Early Learning Payment and a School Age Payment.

The MSP, pictured below left, said: “It is right that tackling childhood inequality and poverty should be a key target for the Scottish Parliament.

Baillie Jackie MSP fishing“Many of the families who are struggling to put food on the table are working households and this is simply unacceptable.

“I welcome the news that the first of the Pregnancy and Baby Payments will be made before Christmas, I am sure this will make Christmas a bit easier for many families.

“The Scottish Parliament has a whole host of new powers available to them to reduce poverty and inequality across all of our society. I want them to be bolder and use those powers to help people in our local community.”

For more information on the Pregnancy and Baby Payment visit

Meanwhile, for older children, Jackie Baillie, will host a prize giving event for the Primary 7 winners of her Christmas Card Competition this year.

The annual competition sees Primary 7 pupils from Dumbarton, Alexandria and Helensburgh taking part in a bid to design the MSPs Christmas Card.

This year, 15 schools from across the constituency took part in the competition with a pupil from each school rewarded for their efforts and invited to attend the prize giving.

Christmas 1 Loads of children will be waiting to see who won the MSP’s competition.

This year’s overall winner, and the pupil who’s design will feature on the MSP’s Christmas card, was Layla Scott of St Patrick’s Primary in Dumbarton. Layla’s design was chosen by a panel of judges from hundreds of entries.

Alleah Sheen, of Aitkenbar Primary in Dumbarton, was awarded second place for her efforts and with the panel unable to choose between them, Rio Kelly, of St Mary’s Primary in Alexandria and Grace Scullion, of St Joseph’s Primary in Helensburgh, were awarded joint third place.

The four pupils have been invited to attend the prize giving, on Saturday 8 December, along with their class teachers and the individual winners from each school.

Jackie Baillie said: “I am delighted to be hosting a prize giving for all of the Primary 7 winners again this year.

“Every year we receive some great designs, and I am always grateful for the effort that all of the pupils put in to designing a Christmas card.

“The panel found it really difficult to choose the winners this year as all of the entries were really well designed.

“Layla’s design is really unique and I know that everyone who receives a Christmas card this year will agree that the effort she has put in is truly amazing.”

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