THE “lifesaver” Scottish Child Payment has been felt “keenly” by families who receive it, an analysis has found.

An interim report on the impact of the benefit, released on Tuesday, which sees eligible families given £20 per week for every child under the age of six, found that the payment was helping to “ease financial pressure” on families.

The Scottish Government has already doubled the benefit from £10 in April and will further increase the amount to £25, while also expanding eligibility to all children under 16.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon 'an attention seeker it's best to ignore', Liz Truss claims

The interim report, compiled by the Scottish Government with Ipsos research, used a combination of official statistics and qualitative interviews of 39 recipients and 10 third sector representatives.

The analysis found that the welfare payment “helped reduce financial stress on households”.

The report continued: “Those who said they used Scottish Child Payment for basic expenses such as food or bills felt its impact keenly, with one describing the payment as a ‘lifesaver’.

“There was a strong sense amongst these participants that they depended on it to buy these things or avoid getting into debt in order to do so.”

The 53-page analysis also said that some recipients of the payment felt they might be forced to use food banks without it.

It added: “There is also testimony from individual recipients that, before receiving the benefit, they had to rely on food parcels or would sometimes have skipped meals to ensure their child(ren) could eat.”

The Child Payment, the report said, has also improved the health and wellbeing of families in receipt of it, including by helping them feel “less guilt or embarrassment at not being able to afford things for their children”.

Children have also been able to eat more and better food as a result of the payment, or able to take part in activities such as swimming or gymnastics to improve their overall health and wellbeing, the report said.

READ MORE: BP posts £6.9bn profit as cost-of-living crisis predicted to worsen dramatically

On Twitter, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Very positive findings about the impact of the game-changing Scottish Child Payment.

“Important as we take forward plans to further increase its value to £25pw and roll out to children up to 16 years old.”

SNP MSP Elena Whitham said it was “encouraging” to see the Child Payment making a “positive difference” to families across Scotland.

She added: "The Scottish Child Payment was always going to play a substantial role in our fight to end child poverty but, at a time when the pressures on households' budgets is increasing dramatically, it is undeniably providing a lifeline for some of the most vulnerable households in our communities.

The National: Elena Whitham MSP heralded the positive impact of the Scottish Child PaymentElena Whitham MSP heralded the positive impact of the Scottish Child Payment

"When it comes to tackling poverty, the difference between the determination of SNP Government and the shameful silence of Westminster - and both Tory leadership contenders - is becoming starker by the day.

"The SNP will continue to use the powers at its disposal to make a difference, but progress is clearly being held back by the inaction of the UK government. The only way to build a fairer, wealthier and happier country is for Scotland to have the full welfare and tax powers of an independent country.”

The research also highlighted some issues with understanding of eligibility, with representatives of charities saying some parents don’t know the benefit will stop when their child turns six.

READ MORE: Liz Truss's Nicola Sturgeon 'attention seeker' jibe defended by Rees-Mogg

One of the parents interviewed experienced the end of the benefit, something the report claimed was a “stressful and disappointing experience”.

The cost of living crisis has also limited the “spending power” of the benefit, the report said.

The analysis explained: “For recipients, household budgets remain very tight, and spending requires careful planning from week to week to ensure they have enough for everything that they and their children need.

“The findings also suggest that recent increases in the cost of living reduced the spending power of Scottish Child Payment.”