MSP Claire Baker is calling on the Scottish Government to act urgently to provide 'direct and immediate' financial support to low income families, at least equivalent in value to the forthcoming Scottish Child Payment of £10 per week per child.

Scottish Labour has found there has been a 73 per cent increase in Fife unemployment levels since last year. In June this year there were 15,105 people receiving unemployment payments compared to 8,750 in June last year - and many of those with children are likely to be struggling to make ends meet, she added. The Fife figure for March was 8,810 but that rocketed to over 15,000 by June.

MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, Ms Baker, said: “More and more families across Scotland are facing financial hardship, but the SNP Government are failing to provide the direct and immediate support needed. "Added to this, rising unemployment means that unless the furlough scheme is extended, and a quality Jobs Guarantee Scheme is introduced, even more households will find they cannot make ends meet.

“While the forthcoming Scottish Child Payment has been welcomed, it will not start to reach families until 2021, but so many need help right now. "Anti-poverty organisations from across Scotland have repeatedly called for the Scottish Government to bring forward a payment equivalent to the SCP as soon as possible.

“The Scottish Government has both the ability and moral obligation to do this.”

Funding of £37.6 million was allocated, by the Scottish Government to support people and families on low incomes in times of need in the 12 months to March 31 2020 – an increase of 7% on the previous year.

Scottish Welfare Fund payments included £12.9 million in Crisis Grants – up 24% - and £24.7 million on Community Care Grants.