MORE than quarter of a million Scots have accepted emergency state handouts to buy nappies, food and to pay heating bills.
They come as MSPs prepare to gain control over 11 new benefits under the latest handover of powers from Westminster.
Ministers are being given the authority to create new benefits and top up those which stay reserved.
Holyrood’s Social Security Secretary Jeane Freeman, who has repeatedly clashed with Westminster over benefit reforms, blamed it for the surge.
But the UK Government dismissed her comments as “misleading”.
Campaigners have previously warned that the welfare grants were a sign that the benefits bill could become unaffordable, putting pressure on other parts of the Scottish Budget.
The latest figures show 254,000 have received cash since April 2013.
They are designed to help buy everyday items, such as food, nappies or toiletries, and cover heating costs and other bills in a crisis.
Grants are also awarded to people facing an emergency, such as flooding.
Administered by councils, they can offer help to buy one-off items such as a cooker or washing machine.