Local MSP, for the Linlithgow Constituency, Fiona Hyslop, welcomed the payments which Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison highlighted during a debate on the commitments in the SNP Scottish Government’s Programme for Government which aim to create a fairer society.
Low income families in West Lothian will benefit from a £320 uplift before Christmas as part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling child poverty.
Families eligible will receive payments of £160 per child in October and again in December. Two Bridging Payments of £100 have already been made which takes the total to £520 this year.
The cash is equivalent to the Scottish Child Payment – a £10-a-week benefit to assist with the costs of caring for a child aged under six years old. The Scottish Government will extend the Scottish Child payment to all eligible under-16s by the end of 2022 and are committed to double the payment to £20 per week as quickly as possible.
The Social Justice Secretary highlighted the payments in the Scottish Parliament just a day after the six Tory MPs failed to vote to stop the UK government’s plans to cut the incomes of six million people across the UK by £1040 a year – the biggest cut to welfare since the 1930’s.
“I know that many families in West Lothian are finding it hard just now. The impact that the pandemic has had on household finances is real, and has only been made worse by the cost of Tory’s obsession with Brexit and their unrelenting cruel austerity agenda.
“I am pleased that in Scotland, the Scottish Government are doing the right thing by its citizens with these payments putting £630,000 in the pockets of 6,300 low income families in West Lothian.
“I have actively campaigned against the decision by the Tory’s proposed £20 a week cut in Universal Credit to those who need it the most and I am pleased that the SNP Government are using the powers they have to provide support to families in Scotland.
“The Scottish Child Payment is already the most ambitious anti-poverty measure currently being undertaken anywhere in the UK and we have committed to doubling it to £20-a-week per child as soon as possible in this parliamentary term.
“It’s clear that building a better future for children in West Lothian, and right across Scotland, is of at the top of the agenda in the SNP’s Programme for Government.”
The bridging payments are made to all eligible children in receipt of free school meals due to low income. The first two bridging payments were made in April and July to align with Easter and summer holidays. Overall around 148,000 children across Scotland are eligible and the total investment will be over £77 million a year.