More than 4,000 mothers applied for Scotland’s new baby grant on the first day it was introduced, the First Minister has said.
The Best Start Grant replaces the UK Government’s Sure Start Maternity Grant.
It gives eligible families £600 on the birth of their first child and £300 on the birth of any subsequent children.
Responding to a question about the policy by Clare Adamson at FMQs, Nicola Sturgeon said: “I’m pleased to say that we are now delivering the Best Start Grant pregnancy and baby payment.
“By the end of the first day on Monday more than 4,000 claims had been submitted, which is an exceptional response and an important moment for Social Security Scotland.
“The payment will provide £600 on the birth of a first child, which is £100 more than the UK system it is replacing.
“The first payments will be made before Christmas as promised and will begin to reach bank accounts next week.
“We’ve also extended eligibility and the application window.”
She added: “Unlike the current DWP system, we will not put a cap on children so we have introduced a £300 payment for second and subsequent children.
“As the very significant number of claims submitted in the first days shows, our work to encourage take up of this benefit for low-income families is paying off and I am delighted that we are using our new social security powers to provide improved financial support for all the children of low-income families.”
Contrasting the approach with the “shameful othering of those on benefits perpetrated by the Conservative Government”, Ms Adamson added: “I am delighted to hear that so many people have applied for the new Scottish Government benefit.
“It will greatly help many of my constituents.”
Ms Sturgeon replied: “The fantastic response to the Best Start Grant is a clear sign that people know that Scottish social security will be different from the current UK system.
“We expect a significant proportion of applications will be for second children and that is important because this Government is determined to give all children the very best start.”