SOME of the most vulnerable families in Scotland are being affected by Westminster's changes to the benefit system, say ministers.

A Scottish Government report looked at the impact of changes to benefit uprating implemented by the UK government since 2010-11.

The changes will reduce welfare expenditure in Scotland by around £6 billion over the six years to 2015-16, it is claimed. Families with two children receiving child benefit will be £1,100 worse off over that period.

Mothers claiming statutory maternity pay will lose out on around £330 in the next financial year.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, addressing the annual Poverty Alliance conference yesterday, said the UK Government's benefit reform programme "unfairly impacts on some of the most vulnerable members of our society".

Welfare cuts hit mothers and children hardest. "Nearly every household in Scotland in receipt of a working age benefit will be affected by plans to introduce a two-year benefit freeze.These planned changes will see Scotland's benefit expenditure reduced by around £300 million in 2017-18," she added.

"These welfare changes do not work for the people of Scotland. Poverty increased in Scotland in 2012-13 for the first time in a decade - an increase that is expected to continue. An additional 100,000 Scottish children will be living in poverty by 2020 because of UK welfare reforms and this is before the next round of cuts due in 2017-18. This is a direct result of choices made by the UK government. Since April 2012, the number of children whose families receive in-work tax credits has decreased by 120,000.

"It is unacceptable that due to the decisions of the UK Government children and families in Scotland are suffering."

Peter Kelly, director, Poverty Alliance, said: "Poverty is the biggest issue Scotland faces and with one in five children growing up in poverty it is impossible to ignore."

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "This government inherited a benefits system in meltdown which trapped the very people it was meant to help.Our welfare reforms are transforming the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities."

Employment is up and the safety net strong, he added.