Ayrshire MSP Sharon Dowey has “warmly welcomed” controversial cost-of-living payments being paid to 14,600 households in South Ayrshire. 

But the same payments have also been criticised by a social change organisation.

The UK Government has confirmed the latest £300 payments will be paid automatically into the bank accounts of those eligible in South Ayrshire between October 31 and November 19.

It is part of a package worth £900 in total to support those on means-tested benefits in South Ayrshire with the effects of the global cost-of-living crisis.

Eligible pensioner households will also receive a further £300 later in the year, on top of the Winter Fuel Payment.

However, the UK Government scheme has come under criticism in a survey by charity Joseph Rowntree Foundation, that found that the £900-a-year payments provided only short term relief for poorer households struggling to afford everyday things from food to shampoo.

Although the £300 payments on average amounted to the equivalent of a fifth of eligible households’ monthly income, the survey found they provided little in the way of breathing space for families and were rapidly used up, mainly to pay down debts and buy food.

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Those eligible in South Ayrshire do not need to apply for the payment, as it will be paid directly into their bank account.

Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP Ms Dowey said: “It is warmly welcomed that the UK Government are providing a further £300 in cost-of-living payments to the most vulnerable in South Ayrshire.

“The cost-of-living continues to be tough for many across South Ayrshire, so this will be a big help for the 14,600 eligible households struggling with their bills.

“This part of the UK Government’s cost-of-living package, which is worth £900 in total, is providing help to those who need it most and I’m glad that they’ve stepped up once again as we head towards winter. 

“With payments being made automatically, people who are eligible in South Ayrshire don’t need to do anything to receive these payments into their bank accounts.

“That said, if there are any issues, then myself and my team will always be on hand to ensure those who need these payments get them from the UK Government.”