Vaughan Gething, MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
I am writing with regard to the Prime Minister’s announcement on 8 November of a new winter package to provide further support for children and families on low incomes. This included a commitment to increase payments for the Healthy Start scheme in England only from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from April 2021. Following discussions between my officials and the UK Government it is clear that this announced measure must also apply to beneficiaries in Wales. It is unfortunate that this announcement was made without consulting Welsh Ministers and I have raised these concerns with the Secretary of State.
We will now be working with stakeholders and communities to ensure that families across Wales are aware of these important changes. The scheme will also become digitalised from April, which will aim to make the process for applying and using the scheme more streamlined. These changes will help to ensure that we can provide nutritional support to low-income pregnant women, mothers with children under the age of one and children under the age of four, in families in receipt of certain benefits. This will help to give them the best start in life.