MORE than 75,000 carers in Scotland have received an extra £221 under the first social security payment to be devolved and paid by SNP ministers.

The money represents the first half of the Carer’s Allowance Supplement, which adds £8.50 or 13 per cent, to the maximum UK carer’s allowance of £64.60 a week.

Payments began last month and the second £221 tranche of the top-up is due to be paid in December.

The cost of the extra benefit to Scottish taxpayers, the first of 11 to be devolved over this parliament, is £30m a year.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Carers make a vital contribution to society, which this payment recognises.

“This investment of over £30m a year addresses the unfairness that Carer’s Allowance is the lowest of the working age benefits.

"Bringing it into line with Jobseeker’s Allowance was one of the first commitments we made in light of our new social security powers.”

There are an estimated 788,000 people in Scotland caring for a relative, friend or neighbour unpaid, includng 44,000 children.