SCOTTISH benefits paid out more than £200 million last year, new figures have revealed.

Data from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre shows payments only available north of the Border totalled £206.85 million in 2021/22.

That includes more than £108m paid out to low-income families via the Scottish Child Payment. Just over £13m was made available to eligible families via Best Start Grants, while Winter Heating Assistance paid out £4m. Young people looking for a job received £850,000 of help from the Job Start Payment scheme, while young carers were awarded £730,000 in grants.

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SNP MSP Natalie Don (pictured) said: “Scotland continues to build a social security system based on fairness, dignity and respect but does so with one hand tied behind its back by an austerity-obsessed Westminster government. The only way we can build a fairer Scotland is with independence.

“Thousands of households across Scotland are suffering from this Tory-made cost of living crisis. The SNP Scottish Government is doing all it can with the powers it has to provide a social security system that puts extra cash in their pockets. By introducing the child payment, which has been described as ‘game-changing’ by anti-poverty charities, the SNP Scottish Government has provided a safety net for thousands.

“However, this good work is undermined by the Tory UK Government which has cut Universal Credit and are making even deeper cuts to household budgets.”