THE new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment has paid out more money to Scottish families in just under two months of operation than the DWP benefit it replaced paid out in a year.

Since opening for applications on Monday 10 December, Social Security Scotland has made payments to more than 7,000 low income households. The support provided to families across Scotland, as of January 31, totalled £2.7 million.

In the entire 2017/18 financial year, the UK Government paid out a total of £2m of Sure Start Maternity Grant Payments in Scotland.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “The response we have had to the new Best Start Grant is absolutely exceptional and I am delighted that we have now issued over £2.7m of payments since the benefit opened in December."