MORE than 300,000 children receive the Scottish Child Payment benefit, with almost £250 million paid out since its launch in February 2021.

New figures from the Scottish Government detail uptake of the devolved benefit.

There was a large spike in applications in November last year, when eligibility for the payment was extended to all under-16s and it was increased to £25 a week.

A total of 121,750 applications were received after this point, the vast majority of applications in the financial year.

Social Security Scotland’s statistics showed that the total value of payments issued was £248.6m up to the end of March this year.

The agency estimated that 303,000 children aged under 16 were in receipt of the payment.

This uptake rate is in line with earlier forecasts from the Scottish Fiscal Commission.

In terms of individual clients, Social Security Scotland had issued more than 2.5m payments to 183,565 people by the end of March 2023.

The average processing time for applications stood at 40 days at this point.

A report from Social Security Scotland said: “Scottish Child Payment is a benefit which has been introduced to tackle child poverty in Scotland.

“It is intended to help low-income families with the costs of raising a child and is available to parents or carers with one or more children under the age of 16.”