Almost 9,000 East Ayrshire kids are being supported by Scottish Government grant payments, according to new figures.

In the first six months of this year, payments worth £3,595,527 have been made to East Ayrshire families from the Best Start Foods and Best Start Grant payments.

Since the Scottish Government’s introduction of the Best Start Grant in 2018 and of Best Start Foods 2019, it's reported that £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.

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SNP MSP for Carrick, Cumnock, and Doon Valley, Elena Whitham has welcomed the news of the number of youngsters being supported.

She 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 thousands of families in East Ayrshire have benefitted.

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“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.

“This kind of vital support for families in East Ayrshire 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.”