Tue 3 Jan, 2017

The Healthier Wealthier Children project in Glasgow has helped vulnerable families gain an average of over £1,000 and after pushing her in parliament, the health secretary has already agreed to roll this out, but we need to start seeing some action now. Alison Johnstone MSP

Vulnerable Scottish families could gain more than £2.3million a year, according to research by the Scottish Greens who are campaigning for a Glasgow-based project aimed at reducing child poverty to be rolled out across the country.

More than 5,000 financially vulnerable families could benefit.

The Glasgow service focuses on “income maximisation advice for families experiencing child poverty” and aims “to prevent families from falling into child poverty by working with health and early years services to identify families at risk at an early stage”.

After questioning by Green MSP Alison Johnstone in parliament, the health secretary agreed that the Scottish Government was willing to roll out the scheme nationally.

Lothian MSP and Scottish Greens’ health spokesperson, Alison Johnstone said:

“We must strive to improve public health and boost incomes for those in most need. The Healthier Wealthier Children project in Glasgow has helped vulnerable families gain an average of over £1,000 and after pushing her in parliament, the health secretary has already agreed to roll this out, but we need to start seeing some action now.

“The project trains health workers and midwives to assist families to maximise their income. Among other types of help, it does that by helping them access support to apply for benefits to which they are entitled but often do not claim because of a lack of understanding about benefits or a hesitancy to approach the benefit authorities.

“The healthier, wealthier children campaign has been an outstanding success. Between its launch in October 2010 and May 2016, a total of just more than 11,000 referrals to money advice services were made across the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, with a total annual financial gain of £11.6 million. Some families gained as much as £3,400, which obviously has a massive impact on their quality of life, so the faster this can be rolled out, the better for Scotland’s 5,000 financially vulnerable families.”

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