A NEW initiative to ensure more new parents are aware of grants and benefits and get the support they are entitled to has been set up.

The plan has been to link the registration of a birth with providing information and the opportunity to apply for new benefits for families.

when registering their child, which is a legal requirement, the registrar will also ask about eligibility for Best Start Grant payments.

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There is also an opportunity to make an application in the registers office before they leave.

Shirley Anne Somerville, Social Security Secretary visited Glasgow City Council offices today to see how the plan to connect services and match up people with eligible benefits they may have been unaware of.

She said: “Having a baby is a real time of joy for families but it can also bring money worries for those struggling to get by.

“No family celebrating the arrival of their new born should be having to choose whether to heat their home or buy clothes for their baby.”

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Glasgow City Council has been trying to ensure as much take up of benefits as possible from free school meals to clothing grants and the new Scottish social security Best Start benefits.

Ms Somerville added: “We want to support families during times of key transitions like having a new baby or when a child starts nursery or school. We have created these new payments to help ease family finances at this time. Together they will support over 40,000 families this year – with a total investment of around £21m this financial year.

“We are working with local services to promote these benefits and want to encourage everyone who is entitled to a payment to apply.

“And it has been great to see for myself the excellent new Glasgow City Council scheme that is linking the council’s birth registration process to our Pregnancy and Baby Payment. This new initiative ensures every new parent, that meets the eligibility criteria, is given the opportunity to make an application before leaving the council office.”

Registrars ask questions to find out if the parents are on a benefit that qualifies them for a Pregnancy and baby payment and offer them assistance.

So far, Glasgow City Council has helped more than 600 families to access a Pregnancy and Baby Payment, which pays £600 for a first child and £300 for any additional children.

Ms Somerville added: “We’re delighted to see Glasgow City Council’s positive, local action, raising awareness of the Best Start Grant”

Councillor Jen Leyden, said: “One of the ways we can challenge child poverty is ensuring families claim and get all of the benefits and payments they are entitled to.

“Everyone has to register a new birth, so that process provides the perfect opportunity to talk to new parents about getting the Best Start Grant and a whole range of other support.”