Gordon Brown will accuse political leaders in Scotland of creating a “generation of invisibles” by failing to tackle soaring levels of child poverty.
The former Prime Minister is to highlight shocking levels of deprivation in his former Kirkcaldy constituency during a speech to the Edinburgh Book Festival on Wednesday.
He accused both governments in London and Edinburgh of ignoring the “national disgrace” of rising child poverty, and will demand they increase tax credits for families as a way of resolving the crisis.
Mr Brown, who lives in Fife, has referred to a Scottish Government-commissioned report published this year, which revealed poverty among Scottish children is projected to nearly double from 210,000 in 2010 to more than 400,000 during the 2020s.
“Kirkcaldy, where I grew up, now has the fifth worst area for child poverty in Scotland – and the worst outside Glasgow,” Mr Brown will tell festival-goers in the capital.
“In East Kirkcaldy, 40% of children are in poverty but soon, on current projections, every second child – more than 50% – will be in poverty.
“This means that without remedial action the prospects for nearly half a generation of children are today in tatters, with Westminster and Holyrood governments shamefully ignoring this national disgrace and the silent suffering and sorrows of left-out millions – and simply hoping the children, and the numbers, will remain invisible.”
He blamed the Tories for imposing “severe and inhumane cuts” and criticised the SNP for failing to address the poverty scourge.
Child tax credit increases should be brought in by the Conservative Government and through top-up payments by the SNP administration, the ex-MP said.
An SNP spokesman said: “This is staggering hypocrisy from Gordon Brown, who lost the 2010 general election after Labour promised voters ‘deeper and tougher’ austerity than anything Margaret Thatcher imposed.
“Labour has also consistently opposed Scotland gaining the full range of economic and welfare powers which would allow us to properly tackle the scourge of child poverty that has been allowed to develop under successive Westminster governments.”
A UK Government spokeswoman said: “In Scotland, the proportion of children living in absolute poverty is at a record low, the employment rate is increasing and the number of children living in a workless household has fallen by around 27% since 2010.
“The best way to help people improve their lives is through employment and our welfare reforms incentivise work and offer parents tailored support to move into a job that fits around their caring responsibilities.
“We continue to spend around £90bn a year on working-age benefits, including for those on low incomes, and last year we spent more than £27 billion on child and working tax credits.
“The Scottish Government now has significant welfare powers, including to top-up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create entirely new benefits altogether.”