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New Health in Pregnancy Grant gets green llght

From April 2009, almost every pregnant woman in the UK will be eligible for the Health in Pregnancy Grant (HiPG).

This will be a one-off payment of £190, available from the 25th week of pregnancy. It is intended to help support the general health and wellbeing of pregnant women in the later stages of pregnancy, and to help them meet some of the costs in the run-up to the birth.

For a woman to claim the grant, a midwife or doctor will need to sign the form to confirm that the woman is 25 weeks pregnant, and that “appropriate maternal advice” has been given.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Timms, said:

“We recognise that the run-up to birth is an expensive time for families. To support these extra costs, the Health in Pregnancy Grant will enable pregnant women to claim further help once they’ve had the appropriate health advice from a health professional, such as their midwife.

“The grant demonstrates the government’s commitment to supporting all pregnant women, and builds on the support that is already available to those mothers-to-be on low incomes provided through the Healthy Start voucher scheme and the Sure Start Maternity Grant.”

The grant, currently at £190, does not depend on the amount of household income and will not affect payments of tax credits and other benefits. It will be paid as a one-off lump sum, with payments starting as of 6 April 2009. The grant will be available to nearly all women ordinarily resident in the UK, providing they are not subject to immigration control. The grant is not taxable or means-tested, and will not affect claims for other pregnancy benefits such as the Sure Start Maternity Grant.

Professor Cathy Warwick, General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said:

“The introduction of the HiPG is really good news for pregnant women and acknowledges the need to provide additional financial support for them. It also sends a powerful message that the health and wellbeing of the pregnant woman is crucial for a positive pregnancy outcome. I know that midwives will welcome the HiPG and ensure that all pregnant women receive the relevant information so that they know how and when to claim the grant.”