MORE county families on low incomes will be able to apply for school clothing grants after the rules for qualifying were changed.

East Lothian Council has widened the scheme to meet the same eligibility needed for free school meals.

It anticipates the move will mean more families become eligible for the grant which has been set at a Scottish Government minimum payment of £100 per pupil.

East Lothian Council said it had received £98,000 in funding from the Scottish Government towards funding the scheme and  reviewed the qualifications needed.

Prior to introducing the new scheme, only families in receipt of income support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit with no take home pay were eligible.

The revised scheme also includes families who receive child tax credit with an annual income less than £16,105, or who receive child tax credit and working tax credit with an annual income of less than £6,900.

It also allows those on Universal Credit with a monthly take home pay of less than £610 to apply.

The new eligibility qualifications are the same as those for families who receive free school meals for children from P4 upwards and free milk for P1 to P3 pupils.

A report on the changes to the clothing grant said: “The current criteria and proposed criteria continues to allow education to grant discretionary awards where parents are not in receipt of any of the recognised benefits but are experiencing severe financial hardship. Those applications will continue to be assessed on a case by case basis.”

The council said in the last financial year 1,400 pupils were granted free school meals but not all of them would have been eligible for a clothing grant under the previous scheme.

It added: “Taking account of the positive migration into East Lothian and families who have chosen not to apply for a free school meal, we would anticipate the number of children and young people eligible for a clothing grant will increase.”