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Income limits for child food benefit to be scrapped says minister

today11 May 2022 26

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Income limits for child food benefit to be scrapped, says minister

Income limits on a benefit designed to ensure children in poverty can access healthy foods will be scrapped by the end of 2023-24, a minister has said.

The Best Start Foods benefit provides pre-paid cards to pregnant women and for the first three years of their child’s life.

But, some income limits are applied to the benefit, meaning that if households on Universal Credit – where one or both parents have jobs – earn more than £660 per month after tax on top of the benefit, they are not eligible.

Similarly, parents in receipt of child tax credit must earn no more than £17,005 per year, £7,920 per year if they receive child tax credit and working tax credit and less than £328 a week if they receive housing benefit.

However, by the end of 2023-24, social security minister Ben Macpherson has said, income limits will be scrapped on the benefit, expanding eligibility by as many as 30,000 people.

“Tackling child poverty is a national mission for us,” the minister said.

“We continue to take the necessary steps to reach the ambitious targets set out in our Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan.

“Social security is one of the main pillars of this plan and will help us to deliver support directly into the pockets of those families who need it the most.

“The cost of healthy food was already a pressure for parents and carers, and the cost of living increases are only making this more challenging.

“We will remove the income thresholds for Best Start Foods so that around 30,000 additional people who receive tax credits or certain benefits will be able to receive Best Start Foods by the end of financial year 2023-24.”

Sharon Hill, the development manager at Mayfield and Easterhouses Development Trust – which runs a community pantry in Midlothian, said: “We have been operating the pantry for less than a year but it is clear that people from all walks of life and backgrounds are looking for ways to cut costs when it comes to doing their essential food shopping.

“We encourage people to ensure that they get all the benefits that are available to them and we welcome any move to open that support up to include more people.

“Like many people involved in community pantries and food banks our aim is to help people get to a place where they don’t require these services any more.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

Written by: ES1

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