THE Scottish Child Payment has now reached more than 316,000 families across the country, according to the latest figures.

The payment of £25 per week, which is unique to Scotland, was reaching 316, 190 people – an increase of more than 13,000 compared to March of 2023.

The Scottish Fiscal Commission had forecast that the average take-up in 2023/24 would be 309,000.

Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville (below) said: “The Scottish Child Payment is one of our key measures in tackling child poverty.

The National: Scottish Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville spoke in a debate on the UK-wide Bill on Tuesday (Jane Barlow/PA)

“It is an important safety net and one of many actions we are taking in government to lift people out of poverty.

“These statistics show the payment is reaching more of the children and young people who need it most.

“While things are clearly moving in the right direction I would still encourage people to spread the word about all Scottish Government benefits.

“We want everyone who is eligible to apply.”

In total, the amount going directly to lower-income families is now more than £350 million since the payment was launched in February 2021.

The average time taken to process applications was 13 working days in June 2023 – down from 40 working days in March 2023.

The Scottish Government has twice increased the payment – firstly from £10 to £20 per week per child and then again to £25 when it was extended to include all eligible children under 16 in November of last year.

Data released by the Trussell Trust in June suggested that the benefit was making a “real difference” to food bank use in Scotland.

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The SNP have previously called on Westminster to match the payment.

Stephen Flynn previously said: “Rishi Sunak must introduce a comprehensive package of support to reverse poverty – including matching the ambition of the Scottish Child Payment UK-wide by raising the child element of Universal Credit by £25 a week and scrapping the benefit cap.”

For more information on how to apply for the Scottish Child Payment, click HERE