Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has encouraged eligible parents and carers in Perth and Kinross to apply for the Scottish Child Payment.
The payment - which has been described as a “game-changer” in the fight to tackle child poverty - will open early for applications this month and start in February of next year.
The SNP Government has prioritised the early introduction of the new benefit, which will provide eligible families on low incomes with a child under six an extra £10 per week for each child.
Latest figures estimate that 194,000 children aged under-six in Scotland will be eligible for the new Scottish Child Payment – with over 4,800 children set to benefit in Perth and Kinross.
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:
“The Scottish Child Payment is an ambitious, game-changing new benefit that will directly tackle child poverty in Perth and Kinross and across Scotland.
“This support is needed more than ever, and its early introduction for those aged under-six - almost two years ahead of the original commitment for a new payment - will be a lifeline for so many families across the region.
"While the SNP does everything it can to tackle poverty, the Tories at Westminster are still trying to defend their shameless decision to deprive children of free school meals over the holidays.
“Children and families simply shouldn’t have to depend on the whim of Boris Johnson’s callous Tory government to get through this Covid-19 crisis.
“This benefit will be a lifeline for many children, young people and their families in Perth and Kinross. Accordingly, I would encourage anyone who is eligible to apply as soon as possible.”