NEW figures show that 1,540 families in West Dunbartonshire received payments for their children - thanks to the Scottish Government’s Best Start Grant scheme.

Awards of £600 on the birth of a first child, and £300 on the birth of any siblings, have been shelled out since the benefit became available in December.

Almost 10,000 low-income families across the country have been helped out by the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby payment, with a total of £3.5million paid out in the first three months.

Available to families who receive Universal Credit, this payment provides essential help to those who have had to adjust to the UK Government DWP benefit changes.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently announced a brand-new benefit, the ‘Early Learning Payment’, which will see low-income families paid a further £250. Parents can apply from their child’s second birthday up to the day when their child is three-and-a-half years old. It can be used for anything from children’s books, shoes, clothes or days out.

Bill Kidd, SNP MSP for Anniesland, said: “This substantial increase in support for families and new babies shows what can be achieved if we take a different approach to social security – using Scotland’s new powers to support families across the country.

“It is good to see a generous and kind approach from the Scottish Government. This, unfortunately, is in stark contrast to what we have seen from the UK Government in their implementation of Universal Credit. It is my hope that this payment makes a difference to those in need.”

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