HC Deb 30 January 2003 vol 398 c988W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what provision is available for poorer families to assist with expenses incurred in the arrival of a new baby, with particular reference to the purchase of new mattresses. [93475]

Ruth Kelly

The sure start maternity grant, worth £500, is available to people receiving income support, income-based jobseekers allowance, working families tax credit or disabled person's tax credit, to help cover the costs of a new baby. Claims can be made at any time from 11 weeks before a baby is due until three months after birth, or up to three months after the date of adoption or parental order. Those claiming must submit a certificate signed by a health professional confirming that health and welfare advice has been received.

From April 2003, the child tax credit will create a seamless system of income-related support for families with children. Paid on top of child benefit, the child tax credit will provide a family element of £545 a year for all families with incomes of less than £50,000, plus a child element of £1,445 for each child or young person in families with incomes of up to around £13,000 a year. In the first year of a child's birth the family element is doubled, to £1,090.

From April 2003, the sure start maternity grant will be available to all parents who receive more than the family element of child tax credit.