Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 4th January 2021.

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The First Minister:

T he eligibility criteria for the £500 support payment were set out at its establishment, and they are tied to entitlement to benefits, although we sought to have a degree of flexibility around that in Scotland. The payment is administered through the Scottish welfare fund. We will continue to consider how we ensure that support for self-isolation and more general support for the new circumstances in which we are now in reaches more people.

At the outset of the pandemic, we made significant resources available to support communities and people in deprived communities in particular. We will be discussing with local authorities how we refresh and supplement that. There was also the £100 million winter support package, with grants going to low-income families before Christmas, as well as a range of other support for organisations supporting people and different groups living in poverty.

We have done a great deal, but we recognise that, in the new, more severe circumstances that we are now in for the next period, we must continue to increase what we are doing. As I indicated in my statement, later this week we will make announcements about additional resources covering many key aspects, with support for communities and vulnerable groups in particular, parental support and any support in addition to the support strands that are already in place for business that we can make available for affected companies.