THE UK Government is being urged to increase its £10 Christmas bonus in line with the rate of inflation to bolster support for households over the winter period.

The bonus was first introduced in 1972 and is a one-off reserved benefit that automatically gives £10 to those on certain social security payments.

However, the payment has not been increased by inflation since its introduction 50 years ago. If it had, it would be worth more than £100, according to the Bank of England’s inflation calculator.

SNP MSP Kevin Stewart is calling on the UK government to increase it to that level and has already written to the Chancellor with his request.

Commenting, Stewart said: “The UK Government’s failure to uprate their Christmas bonus alongside spiraling inflation means a one-off £10 payment will make little difference to people’s household incomes over winter.

“This winter period is going to be particularly tough for households across the country and the Scottish Government is doing its bit by introducing the Winter Heating Payment, which replaces the Westminster system with one that guarantees a payment no matter the weather.

“However, the Scottish Government continues to act with one hand tied behind its back by an austerity-obsessed Westminster government. That is why it is only with the full powers of independence can we build a fairer, more equal Scotland.”

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A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “We know that Christmas is a time that can stretch budgets which is why we offer those on certain benefits a £10 bonus and pay many people their benefits earlier than usual, helping them over the festive period.”