THE Scottish Child Payment (SCP) helped the families of more than 300,000 children and young people at the end of 2023, new statistics have found.

Approximately 327k children were helped by the £25-a-week payment, which forms part of a wider package of Scottish Government actions to tackle child poverty.

The figures published on Tuesday show more than 4000 extra children were being supported since the previous quarter - the fourth consecutive rise. 

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The SCP launched in February 2021, and it has since risen in value twice – from £10 per week to £20 per week then, in November 2022, to £25 per week.

In November 2022, it extended from being a payment for the families of children under the age of six to all those eligible under 16.

It is the families of that older group of children who have driven the latest increase in uptake.

The total overall amount paid out since the payment was launched passed £573.2 million.

Since first launching in December 2018 until December 2023, 471,670 applications for the payments have been processed and a total of £145.4m paid out. 

Responding to the latest figures, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice Shirley-Anne Somerville (below) said: “Despite cuts to Scotland’s budget, the Scottish Government is prioritising support for families.

The National: Shirley-Anne Somerville Image: PA

“Our investment in the game-changing Scottish Child Payment and other benefits is unparalleled in the UK.

“It delivers a lifeline from the Westminster austerity agenda and continued cruel policies, such as the two-child cap.

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“These statistics show that we are reaching more of the people who most need our support as we continue to make tackling child poverty our key mission."

Somerville added that it was “encouraging” to see progress being made in the time it takes from receiving applications to payments being sent to families.