Nicola Sturgeon has hailed the increase of the Scottish Child Payment as “essential” amid a rise in the cost of living.
The First Minister was speaking during a visit to Glasgow based family charity Govan Help on Monday as the parents and guardians of 104,000 children had their weekly payment doubled to £20 per child.
The Scottish Child Payment, which is unique to the country, provides financial support to low income families with children under the age of six.
It was designed to tackle child poverty in Scotland and is set to be rolled out to under 16s and increased to £25 a week by the end of the year.
Sturgeon stressed the importance of the “game changing” payment in the current climate.
She said: “The doubling of the Scottish child payment is so important. It would be important at any time, but given the cost of living crisis, the massive increases people are facing in energy bills, the cost of food, for example, this is essential.
“The child payment, which is not replicated anywhere else in the UK, has been rightly described by child poverty campaigners as game changing and now to see it doubled ahead of a further increase by the end of this year, is a really vital support for families across the country that are struggling and helping lift children out of poverty, which has got to be a key mission of any civilised government.”
It is expected that over 400,000 children will be eligible for the payment when it is extended to under 16s.
Viv Sawers, chief officer at Govan Help, said: “This is a fantastic measure from Scottish Government in tackling Child Poverty in Scotland.
“The roll out and the uplift in Scottish Child Payment will have an incredible impact on the families across Scotland who need it most and we are delighted to see money going directly to families who we know are struggling to meet their basic cost of living.
“Govan has higher than average rates of Child Poverty so this will have a hugely positive impact on the quality of life for families in this local community. We see families struggling daily, they have told us what a difference this has made already with the cost of living increases, we look forward to supporting more families to access this as it rolls out to children up to age 16 later this year.
“We know parenting is a really hard job, without financial pressures, this funding will go a long way to removing stresses that can impact on healthy family functioning and wellbeing.”