FAMILIES could be £2500 better off as a result of the Scottish Government spending almost £9 million to help those impacted by Westminster’s benefit cap.

The Child Poverty Action Group said the Scottish Government had “done the right thing” by providing the extra cash for those in need.

But the campaign group also insisted the UK Government should act and must “scrap the cap altogether”.

The plea came after Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison announced the Scottish Government was providing £8.6m for those who lose out as a result of the Westminster policy, which limits the amount people can receive in benefits, as part of its efforts to tackle child poverty.

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The move will mean an estimated 4000 families in Scotland, with about 14,000 children, will be able to apply for extra financial help via Discretionary Housing Payments, which are awarded by local councils.

Shona Robison said: “We are increasing funding to help bridge the gap between what people need in benefits from the UK Government and what they actually receive.

“Eligible households could be £2500 better off on average per year as a result.”

The Scottish Government will spend up to £84m in total in 2023-24 on Discretionary Housing Payments, with this cash helping to also mitigate the impact of the “bedroom tax” imposed by the UK Government and the freeze in local housing allowance rates.

Robison added it would now also help to tackle the “benefit cap which is pushing families into hardship”.

Speaking about the Scottish Government’s efforts to tackle child poverty, she added: “Our child poverty targets are ambitious and that is why we are choosing to invest significantly more in social security than the funding we receive from Westminster and helping to mitigate the damaging impact of UK Government welfare cuts.”

John Dickie, chair of the Child Poverty Action Group, stated: “Mitigating the UK benefit cap is absolutely the right thing to do. Support for struggling families shouldn’t have an arbitrary limit that pushes children into deeper poverty.

“It’s now vital that everyone affected by the benefit cap applies to their local authority for a Discretionary Housing Payment to replace, as far as possible, the cash support removed by the cap.

“The Scottish Government has done the right thing, now the UK Government must act to scrap the cap altogether.”

Laura Millar, strategic manager at charity Fife Gingerbread, which helps lone parents and families in need, said it had last year supported the Scrap the Cap campaign calling on Westminster to “end the benefit cap and the financial hardship this causes”.

She added: “Therefore, the Scottish Government’s commitment to empower local authorities to mitigate the impacts of the benefit cap using Discretionary Housing Payments is a positive step.

“Although the number of households affected across Scotland may be relatively small this is an important measure.

“The greatest risk is that households may be unaware of their entitlement, and every year millions of pounds of benefits go unclaimed.

“Therefore, we must all raise awareness of this announcement to ensure those most in need of support receive it.”