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New figures that reveal that 775 children in the Western Isles are being supported by the Best Start Foods and Best Start Grant payments from ScotGov.

In the first six months of this year, payments worth £310,986 have been made to Western Isles families.

MSP Alasdair Allan said: “The Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods payments provide crucial support to families at key stages of their children’s lives, and it is excellent to see hundreds of families across the Western Isles have benefitted.

“This is another demonstration of the SNP Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling child poverty, now automatically accompanying the Scottish Child Payment following last year’s increase to £25.

“However, the reality is that these families are simultaneously feeling the worst effects of the Tory-made cost of living crisis, and the Scottish Government will do all it can to mitigate Westminster’s incompetence, even with one hand tied behind its back.

“This kind of vital support for families in the Western Isles is another indication of what is possible with full social security powers – it’s time for Scotland to have the full powers of an independent nation so that we can build a fairer, more prosperous country.”

Since the Scottish Government’s introduction of the Best Start Grant in 2018 and of Best Start Foods 2019, £130 million has been paid in support for pregnancy and the early years of raising a family, equating to 1.7 million Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods payments.

These payments are part of the five key benefits that families may be entitled to from Social Security Scotland – the Best Start Grant is comprised of three one-off payments and Best Start Foods is a prepaid card which can be used to buy healthy foods.

Families who qualify for the Scottish Child Payment are now automatically awarded Best Start Grant Early Learning and School Age Payments when their child becomes eligible – from November 2022 until June 2023 14,825 Early Learning Payments and 23,810 School Age Payments were made.