Best Start Scotland

Last updated: 22/01/2020

The Scottish Government has now replaced the Sure Start Maternity grant with Best Start Pregnancy and Baby grant.

The Best Start Grant includes 3 different grants:

  • The pregnancy and baby grant – to help with the costs of pregnancy or having a new baby
  • The early learning grant – A payment of £250 when your child starts nursery
  • The school age grant – A further payment of £250 to help with the additional costs when your child start school

The Early Learning Payment is open for applications. The £250 Payment is for children aged between two to three and a half and can be used for anything from children’s clothes and shoes to toys, books or days out.

You can apply from your child’s second birthday up to the day your child is 3 years 6 months old.

Best start grant school age applications opened on 3rd June 2019, eligible families will receive £250 to help with things such as educational toys and after school activities.

You don’t need to have received the pregnancy and baby grant to be eligible for the early learning grant or the school age grant, as long as you meet the qualifying criteria.

Who can get it?

You’ll be eligible for best start grant if you get any of the following benefits:

  • Universal credit
  • Income support
  • Income-based Job Seeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Pension credit
  • Housing benefit
  • Child tax credit
  • Working tax credit

If you’re under 19 and someone else is claiming child benefit, child tax credit or universal credit for you, you’ll be eligible for best start grant regardless of income.

People who have adopted a baby or who have started looking after a baby as a kinship carer can also apply for the grant. They will have until the end of the day before the child’s first birthday to apply.

If you have twins or a multiple birth £600 is payable per child, if you have no other children living with you. If there are other children living with you, it is £300 per child in a multiple birth, plus one supplement of £300.

Further information about Best Start Scotland can be found at or by calling 0800 182 2222.

How to claim

Best Start Foods Payment Cards

Healthy Start vouchers will be replaced by the Best Start Foods payment card on 12 August 2019. The paper vouchers will now be prepaid cards. The weekly allowance will rise from the current £3.10 to £4.25.

There are two rates of payment, either £4.25 a week or £8.50 a week.

  • If you’re pregnant, you’ll get £4.25 a week
  • If your child is aged under one, you’ll get £8.50 a week
  • If your child is aged over one but under three, you’ll get £4.25 a week

These can be used for milk, fruit, vegetables and vitamins for pregnant women and eligible families.

The same application form will be used for Best Start Foods and for the Best Start Grant payments.

If you are pregnant and you meet the eligibility criteria, you would only need to apply once for Best Start Foods and for the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment.

If you are already getting Healthy Start vouchers you will be invited to apply for the new Best Start foods payment card between August and December 2019.

Baby box

All new-born babies in Scotland are entitled to a baby box. The box contains useful items and can also be used as a safe place to sleep.

When you’re about 20-24 weeks pregnant your midwife will fill in a baby box registration card with you. The box will be delivered to you 4 weeks before your baby’s due date.