APPLICATIONS for a new benefit designed to help low income families officially opened at the end of last month.

The £250 Early Learning Payment is for children aged between two to three-and-a-half, and can be used to purchase items like clothes, books or even a day out.

It is just one of three payments introduced by the Scottish Government through its Best Start Grant package.

The other payments include the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, which was launched in December, and the School Age Payment, which will launch in June.

So far, a total of 95 Wee County families have received the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, and many more can now apply for the Early Learning Payment too.

Speaking about the latter payment just after it launched on April 29, Clacks' MSP Keith Brown said: "This substantial increase in support for families and new babies shows what can be achieved if we take a different approach to social security – using Scotland's new powers to support families across the country.

"In just the first two months of the Best Start Grant, the Scottish Government got more money into people's pockets than the DWP had managed under the old system in an entire year."

To find out more information, or apply for any of the payments through the Best Start Grant scheme, use: