Jenny Gilruth MSP's column in the Glenrothes Gazette and East Fife Mail - 26 August 2020

Published date : 01 Sep 2020

Game-changing support for low-income families as we continue to deal with Covid-19 challenges

August 2020 is almost over, which means that we’ve been in lockdown for five months. The coronavirus pandemic bas been challenging for everyone, but it has had a greater impact on the poorest in our society. 

That’s why I’m delighted with the Scottish Government’s game-changing support for low-income families through the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment.

The Scottish Government has confirmed that, from November, low-income families with a child under the age of six will be able to apply for £10 per child, per week to assist with living costs. The first payments will start from end of February 2021.

To ensure that families receive the full support they are entitled to, the Scottish Child Payment will be linked with the Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods through the application process. With all three schemes combined, low income families will receive over £5,200 of support for their first child by the time they turn six.

Hopefully this action by the Scottish Government will play a key role in tackling child poverty and I encourage parents and carers in my Mid Fife and Glenrothes constituency to apply for the payment in November.

Together, we have made significant progress to suppress the virus over the last five months. However, we’ve seen several small and localised outbreaks in Scotland over the last couple of weeks. These outbreaks should act as a reminder to us all that the virus has not disappeared from our communities. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged us to remember FACTS to ensure that we continue to supress the virus: Face Coverings; Avoid crowded places; Clean your hands regularly; Two metre distance; Self-isolate and book a test if you develop symptoms. 

By following this guidance, we’ll continue to protect others, save lives and secure further changes to lockdown measures as we move through and out of this crisis. 

The First Minister confirmed some welcome changes to lockdown measures last week. For many people, the resumption of contact sports and coaching this week, and the reopening of gyms and swimming pools from Monday next week, will have a positive impact on mental and physical health and wellbeing.

It’s also welcome news that indoor advice services such as Citizens Advice and Rights Fife can restart face-to-face appointments. I’m grateful to the Citizens Advice teams in Glenrothes and Leven for adapting their services during lockdown to continue to help local folk in need of advice. Although my constituency office remains closed for now, my team and I are continuing to work from home with secure access to our casework system and I am resuming some socially distanced constituency visits. For example, on Monday this week I met with several constituents in Kinglassie who were impacted by the recent stormy weather.

If you need my help or advice on coronavirus or any other issue, please get in touch by email to Jenny.Gilruth.msp@parliament.scot or by calling my office on 01592 764815.

 

East Fife Mail, Glenrothes Gazette, COMMUNITY
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