SNP ministers have been told to “urgently” roll out a minimum income guarantee after new statistics revealed soaring numbers of households repeatedly applying for crisis grants.

In August, the Scottish Government launched a public consultation on its plans to set up a minimum income guarantee.

But the move came with a warning from SNP Social Justice Secretary, Shona Robison, that establishing the policy whereby all Scots would receive a guaranteed income “will not be easy and it will not happen overnight”.

But Ms Robison added that the “radical” idea “could be revolutionary in our fight against poverty”.

But Scottish Labour has demanded that SNP ministers pick up the pace after new figures showed that a record number of households are at crisis point – with more than three quarters of Scottish Welfare Fund applications now coming from past applicants.

READ MORE: SNP ministers start work on ‘eye-wateringly’ costly plan for minimum income

From April to June this year, 76 per cent of crisis grant applications were repeat applications – with the number increasing over the last year, from 64% in the same period in 2020.

The number of repeat applicants for the Scottish Welfare Fund has soared since 2013, when it was just 17%.

The latest figures show one third of applications to the fund were rejected, with Labour claiming some applicants are facing a postcode lottery due to huge variation in approval rates between local authorities.

The party has called for plans to be accelerated to roll out a minimum income guarantee instead of what it claimed was a “sticking plaster” approach from the SNP Government.

Scottish Labour’s social security and social justice spokesperson, Pam Duncan-Glancy, said: “More and more people are living in a state of constant crisis, relying on piecemeal grants to make ends meet.

“Crisis grants are an important lifeline – but they aren’t a substitute for a real safety net.

“Things are only set to get worse as bills soar and the Tories’ shameful cut to Universal Credit hits.

“We need more than sticking plasters to tackle poverty in Scotland.

“The SNP must act urgently to deliver a real minimum income guarantee for every Scot.”

The Scottish Government has announced a new winter support fund including £10 million to support people facing fuel poverty, £25 million to help local authorities’s response to financial insecurity and £6 million for third sector organisations.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We have taken unprecedented action to support people during the pandemic.

"The Scottish Welfare Fund provides a vital safety net for households facing an unexpected financial crisis. That is why we have committed to maintaining the budget for the fund at £41 million and to undertaking a full independent review to ensure that it works as efficiently as possible across the whole country.

“People on low incomes, children and people at risk of homelessness will need more support this winter against a backdrop of rising living and fuel costs.

“Everyone in Scotland deserves to live healthy, financially secure, fulfilling lives and a minimum income guarantee will be an important step towards achieving that.”