Families of 145,000 Scottish children to receive £260 payments before Christmas

families of 145000 scottish children to receive 260 payments before christmas

Cash payments to thousands of low-income households in Scotland will be doubled from £130 to £260 in December, as part of efforts to help with the cost of living.

The policy, announced by Nicola Sturgeon in her closing speech to the SNP conference in Aberdeen, will benefit the families of around 145,000 children.

These households had been expecting to receive £130 per child in December, but the Scottish Government is funding a doubling of this amount at a cost of £18.9m.

All children registered to receive free school meals on the basis of their families having a low income are eligible to receive the “bridging payment”.

The cash will be paid in addition to the Scottish Child Payment, which is being extended to all eligible under-16s from 14 November.

The benefit is also rising to £25 per child, per week, on the same date, meaning that its value has increased by 150 per cent in the space of eight months.

The policy was the key cost-of-living announcement in the First Minister’s conference speech and was welcomed by child poverty campaigners as “really good news”.

Ms Sturgeon said doubling the December payment would “help put food on the Christmas table for families of 145,000 children and young people” who faced a “really tough” winter.

She added: “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 £20m will bring a bit of Christmas cheer to those who need it most.”

More from Scotland

On the NHS, Ms Sturgeon also announced that two more rapid cancer diagnostic centres would be established in Lanarkshire and the Scottish Borders, opening next year.

The services aim to speed up cancer diagnoses by referring patients with non-specific symptoms, such as weight loss, fatigue and nausea.

Three similar facilities in Ayrshire and Arran, Fife and Dumfries and Galloway were established in spring last year, with early data showing that around 16 per cent of referred patients have gone on to be diagnosed with cancer.

Finally, the First Minister also announced that 22 projects across the north-east of Scotland would receive a share of £50m as part of the transition away from oil and gas.

They include training facilities for former oil workers and pilot projects for emerging energy technologies, with the money provided by the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Fund.

This is investing £500m in the north east over ten years, supporting the region’s transition away from fossil fuels.

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