MORE than 6000 applications for Best Start Grant have been received in the week following the launch of the Scottish Government’s new Early Learning Payment.

The payment is for children aged between two and three-and-a-half and can be used for anything from children’s clothes and shoes to toys, books or days out.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “The Best Start Grant will give children the best possible start in life and I am delighted we have received so many applications in the two days following the launch of our new payment.

“This new payment is going to put money in to the pockets of low-income families with young children, many of which have been affected by UK welfare cuts.”

It is part of the Best Start Grant package and applications for the £250 payment opened on Monday April 29.

Unlike the rigmarole of the UK Government’s Universal Credit, parents can apply to Social Security Scotland for all Best Start Grant payments in a single application form.

“The Best Start Grant package will support 30,000 to 40,000 families this year – totalling an investment of £12 million,” said Somerville. “This is £10m more than previously provided by UK Government support.

“For a two-child family, the Best Start Grant package will provide total support of £1900 – that’s £1400 more than they would get under the previous UK system.

“This shows the direct difference we are making to families across Scotland with our new powers over social security.”

Parents and carers will be eligible if they live in Scotland and are responsible for a child and receive certain qualifying benefits. The package is made up of the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, the Early Learning Payment and the School Age payment, which will open for applications in June.