ALBA Party Holyrood leader Ash Regan MSP has called on the Scottish Government to increase the Scottish Child Payment.

Her comments came as Alba released figures showing that more than £150,000 crisis grants were issued across Scotland last year.

A total of 156,305 crisis grants were paid out and there was a near-30% spike in the number of grants issued in January with more than £1.9 million paid out, up from £1.5m in December.

READ MORE: New YouGov poll predicts results of EVERY seat at General Election

Glasgow paid out the most in crisis grants last year at over £3.8m, followed by Fife at £2.5m, Edinburgh at £2m, North Lanarkshire at £1.8m and Aberdeen at just below £1m. Several Councils did not provide the information requested meaning the total amount paid out in crisis grants last year is likely to be close to £20m, Alba said.

Regan the figures should serve as a stark reminder that poverty in Scotland needs to be treated as a much more urgent priority, stating that the current draft Scottish Budget doesn’t go far enough to lift children out of poverty.

Regan and Alba want to see the Scottish Child Payment increased to £40 per week.

The MSP said: “The cost of living crisis is having a disproportionate impact on the poorest members of our society.

“People with the lowest incomes pay the highest energy costs and they pay the highest borrowing costs.

“The levels of child poverty in Scotland are a national scandal. Scotland is an energy-rich land. Across the North Sea, Norway is one of the world’s richest countries – but in Scotland one in four children are living in poverty.

“Alba are calling for the Scottish Child Payment to be increased to £40 a week to help ensure more families don’t have to rely on crisis grants this year.

The National:

“Humza Yousaf (above) promised that if he became First Minister he would increase the Child Payment to £30 per week but the current draft Budget fails to deliver that.

“We can see from the large number of crisis grants paid last year that too many families in Scotland live in hardship and this is why we must see the Scottish Child Payment increased to £40 per week.

“The Scottish Parliament must make tackling poverty a priority this year – at the moment the draft Budget does not.”