Money Wellness
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calendar icon07 Mar 2023

International Women’s Day: financial support for pregnant women and mums with young children

With three quarters of mums who pay for childcare saying going to work isn’t worth it financially, we’re marking International Women’s Day by making sure pregnant women and new mums are aware of all the help they’re entitled to.

A new survey by Pregnant Then Screwed revealed over a quarter (26%) of parents who use formal childcare are spending more than 75% of their take home earnings on paying professionals to look after their kids.

And worryingly, a third (32%) are getting into debt to cover childcare costs. So, if you’re pregnant or a new parent, what help is out there?

Maternity grants

If you or your partner are receiving certain benefits and you’re having a baby (including adopting or becoming a surrogate parent), you may be eligible for a maternity grant.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it’s called the Sure Start Maternity Grant and it’s a one-off payment.

In Scotland, it’s called the Best Start Grant and it’s split into three separate payments.

Here’s what you might get:

 

England, Wales and NI

Scotland

You have no other children and you're expecting a baby

£500

£642.35

You have no other children and you’re expecting twins

£1,000

£1,284.75

Your child is between the ages of two and three-and-a-half

£0

£267.65

Your child is about to start primary school

£0

£267.65

Got child/ren under 16 and expecting another baby

£0

£321.20

Got child/ren under 16 and expecting twins

£500*

£963.60

Got child/ren under 16 and expecting triplets

£1,000**

£1,284.75

* providing you haven’t already had twins or triplets

** providing you haven’t already had triplets. If you’ve already had twins, you can get £500

If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you can find more information - including who can get the grant and how to apply – on the government website.

If you live in Scotland, you can find the same information on the Scottish government website.

Healthy Start scheme

Under the Healthy Start scheme (Best Start Foods scheme in Scotland) you can get money towards milk, baby formula, fruit, veg and pulses. Depending on where you live and the age of your child, you can get between £4.25 and £9 a week.

To qualify in England, Wales or Northern Ireland:

  • you or your partner must be getting certain benefits
  • you must have a child under the age of four or be at least ten weeks pregnant

Find more information, including how to apply, on the NHS website.

In Scotland:

  • you or your partner must be getting certain benefits
  • you must have a child under three years old or be pregnant

Find more information, including how to apply, on the Scottish government website.

Tax-free childcare

For every child you have, you can get up to £500 every three months towards the cost of childcare. Visit the government website to find out more.

30 hours free childcare

If you live in England and have children aged three or four years old, you may qualify for 30 hours of free childcare a week. For more information, see Childcare Choices.

15 hours free childcare

If you have a two year old and are getting certain benefits, you may qualify for 15 hours of free childcare a week. All families with three and four year olds can get 15 hours of free childcare a week. Find more details at Childcare Choices.

Claim back childcare costs

If you get universal credit, you may be able to claim back as much as 85% of your childcare costs – up to £624 a month for one child or £1,108 for two or more children. The government website gives more information.

Child benefit

If you’re raising a child who is either under 16, or under 20 if they’re in approved education or training, you can get child benefit.

You’ll get £21.80 a week for your first child and £14.45 a week for every additional child.

There’s more information on the government website.

Free school meals

If you’re on certain benefits, your child/ren may be able to get free school meals. Check if you qualify on the government website.

Holiday activities and food programme

If your children qualify for free school meals, there are free activities and food available for them in the Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays. Find out more on the government's Education Hub.

National School Breakfast Programme

Schools in England that are part of the National School Breakfast Programme are providing healthy breakfasts to pupils at the start of the school day. Contact your child’s school to find out if they are taking part in the scheme.

 

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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