The Scottish finance secretary said her package of support to help Scots with the cost of living crisis was not perfect but was “a question of how we deliver support quickly to families”.
Three quarters of households in Scotland are to get £150 to help with the rising household bills.
Kate Forbes said she didn’t think the plan was a “perfect scheme” but that “it needed to be seen in the context of more targeted support”.
“Ultimately this is a question of how we deliver support quickly to families who needed it yesterday,” she told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland on Friday.
“We could design a perfect scheme that would take a number of months to deliver, but my priority is to try to get that money out of the door quickly.”
The proposal has been criticised by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Poverty Alliance, who said more support should have been targeted at low-income households.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s associate director for Scotland said the Scottish Government was “largely copying” the approach of UK chancellor Rishi Sunak and repeating the same mistakes.
Sunak announced a repayable £200 discount and a £150 rebate on council tax bills – with funding creating consequentials for Scotland.
The SNP MSP told the broadcaster there were other benefits available to help those most in need as the cost of living crisis bites, including a winter support fund and a boost to the child payment.
She said the council tax rebate, which will be given to households in bands A to D, will reach those who might not need it “but it is the only route we have to make sure we reach those for whom it will make a difference quickly and simply”.
Around 1.85 million people, 73% of Scottish households, are expected to receive the money, Forbes said.
On Thursday, MSPs voted to pass the Scottish Government’s budget.
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