Families of an estimated 145,000 children are set to benefit from extra financial support this winter, following the announcement of the doubling of December Bridging Payments.
The move is backed by the Scottish Government with an investment of £18.9 million.
Bridging Payments were introduced in 2021 ahead of the extension of the Scottish Child Payment to 6 to 15-year-olds. The final quarterly Bridging Payment, due in December, will now be doubled to £260, meaning families will receive up to £650 per eligible child this year.
All children registered to receive free school meals on the basis of family low income are eligible and will receive this payment automatically.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “proud” of the work the government was doing to tackle child poverty.
“The Scottish Child Payment is paid to eligible families and is unique in the United Kingdom. It starts for under 6s at £10 per week per eligible child,” she said.
“In April we doubled it to £20. [In] Five weeks we will increase it again, to £25 and also extend it to families with children up to age 16.
“This is vital financial help for well over 100,000 children, delivered in time for Christmas,” she added.
However, the First Minister said more was needed because “this winter is going to be really tough”.
“As part of our help to the poorest families over last year and this, ahead of rolling out the Scottish Child Payment to under 16s, we have made quarterly bridging payments of £130 to children and young people in receipt of free school meals.
“I am delighted that the Scottish Government will double the December Payment from £130 to £260.
“That will help put food on the Christmas table for families of 145,000 children and young people. I don’t pretend it will make all of their worries go away – no government with our limited powers can ever do that. But I hope this investment of almost £20 million will bring a bit of Christmas cheer to those who need it most.”