A NEW fund that will provide a £100 payment to families who are struggling to make ends meet has been hailed as a lifeline.

The Scottish Government is giving the extra cash to all families with children who receive free school meals.

It aims to bridge the gap for low-income families before they are able to benefit from a £10 weekly payment that will be introduced in February.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I know that, for families struggling now, February is still a long way off, so I am announcing a package to bridge that gap and help others struggling most with the impact of Covid over the winter months.

“The money will be paid before Christmas and families can use it for whatever will help them through the winter. That could be food, new shoes or a winter coat for the kids.”

John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group, said the funding will be welcomed by those who have been “hammered” by the economic impact of coronavirus.

He added: “It comes when families have faced a year of increased costs and falling incomes as a result of the pandemic, with far, far too many forced to rely on foodbanks and charity hardship funds.”