The Welfare Foods (Best Start Foods) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2023

Date Legislation considered: 26 January 2024

Date Legislation in Force: 26 February 2024

Relevant Withdrawal Agreement/EEA EFTA Separation Agreement Right(s): Residence/Discrimination/Equal Treatment

What does the legislation do?

The Regulations amend the Welfare Foods (Best Start Foods) (Scotland) Regulations 2019 (“the Best Start Food Regulations”).

The Best Start Food Regulations set out the rules and eligibility criteria for Best Start Foods. The Explanatory Memorandum states that Best Start Foods was introduced in 2019 and provides eligible pregnant people and families with children under the age of three with financial support towards the cost of purchasing healthy foods via a prepaid card.

These Regulations make various changes to the Best Start Food Regulations; however, this report only considers those changes that are relevant to the Citizens’ Rights Agreements.

A summary of the changes made by the Regulations and their aims can be found on the Scottish Government’s website here.

The Regulations amend the residence requirement set out in Regulation 9 of the Best Start Food Regulations to provide that where neither an individual, nor their partner, who are ordinarily resident in Scotland have been awarded a benefit listed in Regulation 10, such as child tax credit, housing benefit etc, they will need to satisfy additional residency criteria. In the case of persons who (or have a partner who) is habitually resident in the EEA or Switzerland, they or their partner will need to have been granted pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”), to meet the requirement. It is unclear, how applicants to the EUSS or joining family members in their first three months of residence in the UK will be eligible.


The IMA asked the Scottish Government to clarify how the changes to the Best Start Foods Regulations would apply to applicants to the EUSS and to joining family members in their first three months of residence in the UK.

Officials at the Scottish Government have acknowledged that the legislation as drafted does not reflect the terms of the Withdrawal Agreements and will be amended. As the Agreements have ‘direct effect’, officials have confirmed to the IMA that pending applicants and joining family members in their first three months of residence in the UK would be treated as meeting the requirement to have been ‘granted’ status despite this not being expressly stated. This means that citizens holding a Certificate of Application and joining family members in their first three months of residence in the UK, are entitled to apply for the special non-cash benefit available through the Best Start Food Regulations.

The IMA will continue to work with the Scottish Government to ensure that relevant changes are made to the legislation and/or guidance to reflect officials’ commitments.

Any citizens experiencing difficulties in exercising their rights are encouraged to report a complaint through the IMA Portal.

Further information about the IMA and guidance on how to report complaints can also be found on the Website.