New payment card to help low income families buy healthy food

12 August 2019, 11:36 | Updated: 12 August 2019, 11:40


A new payment card is to be introduced by the Scottish Government to help low-income families access healthy food.

The card, which will be available for pregnant women and families with babies and children who receive certain benefits, will work in a similar way to a bank card and will provide help to buy items such as milk and infant formula, as well as fruit and vegetables.

Eligible families on low-income benefits will get £17 on their card every four weeks during pregnancy and for any children between one and three years old.

For babies up to the age of one, the payment will increase to £34.

The move is part of the Best Start Foods payment, which replaces the UK Government's Healthy Start paper vouchers with a new payment card.

Applications for the payment are open to families from Monday August 12.

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: "This Government is committed to doing all it can to improve the health and well-being of children in Scotland and give them the best start in life.

"That means ensuring low-income families can access the healthy foods that some may otherwise struggle to afford.

"Introducing a new payment card to replace paper vouchers will enable families to access this vital support without fear of stigma."

He added: "We have created more ways for people to apply and have combined the application process with Best Start Grant so families can apply for four different payments on a single form.

"As with all our benefits, we want to ensure that everyone who is entitled to a payment is encouraged to apply.

"We will work with partners including midwives and a range of other healthcare professionals to promote Best Start Foods to ensure as many families as possible know they are entitled to this support."