The Scottish Government is looking to provide low-income families more help with digital smart cards and access to a wider range of foods.

It is a bid to help families with children who are facing increased payments, backed by Cunninghame North MSP Kenneth Gibson, and a consultation has been launched.

The solution would be achieved through changes in its Welfare Foods Scheme, which consists of the Healthy Start Vouchers and the Nursery Milk Scheme, which are anticipated to take effect from 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Current plans include changing from paper Healthy Start food vouchers to smartcards for easier use and to reduce stigma, as well as cutting the administration involved for retailers. Families’ allowances would rise from £3.10 to £4.25 a week, and from £899 to £1,011 in total over the period they receive support.

The range of foods covered by the system will also expand, while it is proposed to add a healthy snack to the free milk children receive at nurseries.

MSP Kenneth Gibson added: “We know that there are parents in North Ayrshire and Scotland who struggle to provide their families with healthy and nutritious meals daily and the SNP is constantly looking at ways of improving this.

“Only last month, the SNP Government announced the continuation of the £1 million a year Fair Food Fund over 2018-19 to enable existing projects to continue their work. In addition, a further £1 million over the next two years will fund new activity to support children facing food insecurity, particularly during school holidays.

The MSP said that the new measures would make it easier for families to make healthier choices, improve delivery and makes best use of resources.

The consultation Welfare Foods - a consultation on meeting the needs of children and families in Scotland runs until 28 June and can be accessed via: