THE number of Scottish children benefitting from a “crucial cash” payment has increased, official figures have revealed.

By the end of March 2024, 329,055 children under the age of 16 were in receipt of the Scottish Child Payment – with the number of youngsters, for whom payment is made, up by 1405 from the end of last year.

Overall, the Scottish Government has paid out £677.9 million to low income families since the benefit – which is unique to Scotland within the UK – was first launched in February 2021.

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Scottish Government data showed that, over the course of 2023-24, £69.2m was paid to families in Glasgow who are in receipt of the benefit, with families in Fife receiving £32.9m, while payments totalling £32.2m were made in North Lanarkshire.

Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said the payment, which totals £26.70 per child, is a key part of Scottish Government efforts to tackle child poverty.

With First Minister John Swinney having declared eradicating child poverty to be his Government’s “number one mission”, Somerville said that the payment “plays a key part in that”.

The National: EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - MAY 16: First Minister of Scotland John Swinney and Shona Robison Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government arrive for First Ministers questions at the Scottish Parliament on May 16, 2024 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by

She said the money, together with the Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods payments, means poorer families could have received almost £25,000 for each child by the time they reach the age of 16.

Somerville insisted this was “helping to make sure all children in Scotland get the best start in life”.

She said the Scottish Government had “provided over £829m to help people raise their families, putting money into the pockets of people who need it most”.

The Social Security Secretary continued: “This crucial cash is available as soon expectant parents know they are pregnant all the way through to their child starting nursery, then going to primary and secondary school and helps them cover costs of caring for their children.

“We know from our recent research that families say the application process is clear and doesn’t take too long to apply.

“So I would urge families to apply for our package of five family payments and get the money they are entitled to.”