The new Scottish Child Payment – which has been described as a “game-changer” in the fight to tackle child poverty – will open early for applications this month.

Ruth Maguire MSP has encouraged parents and carers in North Ayrshire who are eligible to apply now so that the Scottish Government can process and start making payments as quickly as possible once the benefit starts in February next year.

The SNP Government has prioritised the early introduction of the new benefit, which will provide eligible families on low incomes with a child under 6, an extra £10 per week for each child. 

Latest figures estimate that 194,000 children aged under-6 in Scotland will be eligible for the new Scottish Child Payment – with over 4,400 children set to benefit in North Ayrshire.

The SNP MSP for Cunninghame South said:  “The Scottish Child Payment is an ambitious, game-changing new benefit which will directly tackle child poverty in North Ayrshire and across Scotland. 

“This support is needed more than ever, and it’s early introduction for under 6s – almost two years ahead of the original commitment for a new payment – will be a lifeline for so many families in North Ayrshire.

“While the SNP does everything it can to tackle poverty, the Tories at Westminster are still helplessly trying to defend their shameless decision to deprive children of free school meals over the holidays. 

“Children and families simply shouldn’t have to depend on the whim of Boris Johnson’s callous Tory government to get through this Covid-19 crisis. 

“This benefit will be a lifeline for many children, young people and their families in North Ayrshire. I’d encourage anyone who is eligible to apply as soon as possible.”

Stats use the NRS mid-year population stats by age and local authority. Calculations are based on the latest 194,000 figure and are estimates of the local population.