Indeed, as Scottish Labour finance spokesman Daniel Johnson put it, the delay “absolutely beggars belief” given households are “facing destitution as bills spiral”.
Anyone who doubts the seriousness of the situation should consider the growing demand for the services of charitable food and clothing banks in what is one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
Vicky Gorn, of the New4U Children's Clothing Bank in Fife, told Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme how the numbers of people seeking their “pre-loved clothes” were spiralling. "Quite often people say ‘I’m struggling, I’m working two jobs, but I just cannot make ends meet’. It's a choice between food or the clothing,” she said.
And she is preparing for things to get worse. "The demand is going to go through the roof this winter, which is horrible to think that there's people in our community that cannot even put a warm coat on the backs of their children.”
The extra £41 million comes as a result of the UK Government’s increase in support for vulnerable people in England by £500 million, so it would be appalling if every penny of the money did not go to the poorest in Scotland.
But the Scottish Government should also jump at the chance to show up Boris Johnson and co by better targeting of all the help it can offer at those whose need is greatest.
Even former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke has described the UK decision to give people like him £1,100 to help pay their power bills as “absurd”. “You know, very nice, but I don’t need it,” he said, urging greater protection for the “very poor”.
The suggestion by Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey that the rich could pay the cash back to the government just highlights how unfair, misguided and ludicrous this policy truly is.
At a time when working people must rely on charity to feed and clothe their children, it is a travesty that the wealthiest among us are being given taxpayers’ money they do not need and which many do not want.