The Scottish Government has been accused of overstating its cost of living support package.

The government has put the value of the support it is providing at £3bn - as inflation hits its highest level in decades and energy bills rocket to an average of more than £3000 a year.

A blog by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), however, has put it at below £500m and opposition MSPs have said it shows the government is not doing as much as it should.

READ MORE:Glasgow's shocking drug death toll reached new record as latest numbers revealed

The Parliament researchers said the £3bn figure has included many previously announced policies and spending, some dating back as far as 2014.

The research found the Scottish Child Payment increase would count but not increased funding for early learning and childcare. 

SPICe said: "This has been government policy since 2014. It was introduced last August because it had been delayed for a year due to Covid-19."

Instead, it took October 2021 as a starting point as that is when inflation was 4.1% and the energy cap was first raised.

It provided a list of measures that came after October 2021 that would be accurately described as cost of living support.

READ MORE: Cleansing staff CUT again as Glasgow is voted one of world's dirtiest cities

It included Continuing free school meals during school holidays costing £22m.

Increases to various energy efficiency schemes costing £161m.

Increasing the Scottish Child Payment from £20 to £25 costing £18m.

Increasing certain social security benefits by 6% instead of 3.1% costing £3m.

Additional funding for benefit cap mitigation costing £4m.

Passing on UK Government council tax rebate £280m.

The list, it said, comes to £490m.

Camilla Kidner, senior researcher, social security, said: “Of course, this is also not a perfect list, and there are many different ways in which this could be expressed. 

“Whether a policy counts when it is announced, extended, implemented or continued for an extra year - can all be debated. For example, Low Income Winter Heating Assistance is due to start in February 2023, but it is a long-standing commitment to replace the Cold Weather Payment.”

Opposition parties said the Scottish Government is not doing enough to help with the cost of living.

Willie Rennie, LibDem economy spokesperson, said: “The Scottish Government are spinning like a washing machine. Some of the policies that they are claiming credit for date back to the days of the Lib-Lab coalition.

“This is a brutal rebuke of the Scottish Government from the studiously impartial researchers at SPICe.

“This SNP/Green government is not doing nearly enough to tackle soaring energy bills and the cost-of-living crisis.

"We need to get more money to families and kickstart an emergency insulation programme to bring down energy bills.”

In response, a spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: "Within its limited budget, the Scottish Government has allocated almost £3bn in this financial year alone to help families and households face the increased cost of living.

"As recognised in the report, Scottish Government policies are helping households both immediately through targeted support and helping weather the current crisis a little bit more easily such as increased access to free childcare, baby boxes, prescriptions, travel and social security payments not available anywhere else in the UK including the Scottish Child Payment.

"This reflects how we have recognised the pressure on family budgets for some time and have responded by implementing changes to support them. 
“Westminster holds most of the powers needed to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and child poverty. 

"We have continually urged them to use all the levers at their disposal and provide immediate support to struggling households.”