Advance payments to terminal ill survivors of historic child abuse can now be claimed at an earlier age.

The Scottish Government has lowered the qualifying age from 70 to 68, with immediate effect.

The flat rate payment of £10,000 will benefit survivors who may not live long enough to apply to the statutory redress scheme when it is established.

Since the scheme opened on 25 April, 274 applicants have received the payment. A dedicated phone line, set up to help survivors apply to the scheme, is available at 0808 169 9740, from Monday to Thursday, 10am-4pm. It will be closed from 19 December and will reopen on 6 January.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney commented: "This reduction in age threshold will offer more survivors, who may not live long enough to apply to the future statutory redress scheme, the opportunity to receive recognition and acknowledgement for the abuse they suffered in care and the impact that has had. We know how meaningful that can be for some individuals."

The statutory redress scheme is planned to pass its final parliamentary stages before March 2021.