MORE than 300,000 children receive the Scottish Child Payment benefit, with almost £250 million paid out since its launch in February 2021.

New figures from the Scottish Government detail uptake of the devolved benefit.

There was a large spike in applications in November last year, when eligibility for the payment was extended to all under-16s and it was increased to £25 a week.

A total of 121,750 applications were received after this point, the vast majority of applications in the financial year.

Social Security Scotland’s statistics showed that the total value of payments issued was £248.6 million up to the end of March this year.

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The agency estimated that 303,000 children aged under 16 were in receipt of the payment.

This uptake rate is in line with earlier forecasts from the Scottish Fiscal Commission.

In terms of individual clients, Social Security Scotland had issued more than 2.5 million payments to 183,565 people by the end of March 2023.

The average processing time for applications stood at 40 days at this point.

A report from Social Security Scotland said: “Scottish Child Payment is a benefit which has been introduced to tackle child poverty in Scotland.

“It is intended to help low-income families with the costs of raising a child and is available to parents or carers with one or more children under the age of 16.”

First Minister Humza Yousaf, who will today visit a school in Edinburgh to hear how the Scottish Child Payment is making a difference to families, said:

“The game-changing Scottish Child Payment is designed to tackle child poverty head-on and lift families out of poverty.

“Families in Scotland are able to benefit from five family payments delivered by the  Scottish Government which could be worth more than £10,000 by the time an eligible child turns six and over £20,000 by the time an eligible child turns 16.

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“I am pleased at the take up of the Payment but we still want to get that money to all of those eligible. I would encourage anyone who thinks they may be eligible to find out more and apply. 

"The Scottish Child Payment is one of an ambitious range of actions to support families immediately and in the long term.”

Polly Jones, Head of Scotland at the Trussell Trust, added:

“Everyone in Scotland should be able to afford the essentials but we know that more families are struggling than ever before.

“We have long called for the Scottish Child Payment to be increased and extended to all children up to 16 and so it’s very encouraging to see the positive impact this is making, reaching more families and getting more cash into the pockets of people who need support the most.”