FAMILIES on low income will benefit from a new financial boost in time for Christmas.

The first payments of the Best Start Grant, which provides financial support during the early years of a child’s life will be paid.

Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley MSP Jeane Freeman has welcomed the announcement that eligible applicants will receive £600 for their first child, which is £100 more than the UK government’s equivalent in England.

Best Start Grants replace and expand on the UK Government's Sure Start Maternity Grant by also providing £300 on the birth of any subsequent children.

Ms Freeman said: "This is a significant investment in families and children and we are making it because we know how important it is for children to have the best start in life.

"I was pleased to lead the consultation on Best Start as the Social Security Minister earlier this year and am delighted to see that these payments will be made in time for Christmas. These new payments will ensure that our under 5’s get the best possible start in life.

"It’s vital that the SNP government can provide help at a time when families in Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley are seeing UK government social security support drastically reduced, and Universal Credit is causing hardship across Scotland.

"By reversing and mitigating the Tory cuts that have been so damaging to families in Cumnock and Doon Valley, and ensuring that we support those on the lowest incomes, the SNP are building a social security system based on dignity and respect."