FINANCE Secretary Kate Forbes has penned an extraordinary rebuttal to Gordon Brown after he claimed the Scottish Government was “compounding” the mistakes of the Tories and leaving Scots to suffer in poverty.

The SNP Cabinet Secretary said that Brown’s accusations, made in an article written for the Daily Record, were a “shoddy mishmash of false equivalencies, political misdirection and blatant mendacity”.

The former prime minister had written to highlight the cost-of-living crisis impacting on people across the UK.

He said that Boris Johnson’s (below) government was guilty of a “quadruple hit on hard-pressed families – cuts in the value of benefits, combined with National Insurance and other tax rises, and only limited support as gas bills and food bills rocket upwards, forcing thousands more into poverty”.

The National:

Brown added: “But the Scottish Government has also failed. By refusing to do enough to help those in greatest need, they are compounding, not correcting, the mistakes of the UK Government.”

He noted the Scottish Child Payment, which will double in April and has seen low-income families with a child under six receive £40 per child per month since February 2021, but said it was “not enough”.

He further suggested that devolved administrations “unite” around a call for the £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift to be reinstated.

This was cut by the Tories in October 2021, despite representatives from Labour, the SNP, Alba, the LibDems, Plaid Cymru, the DUP, the Greens, and even the Tory party arguing against it.

READ MORE: Tories vote in real-terms cut to Universal Credit and pensions amid skyrocketing cost of living

In a searing response also published in the Daily Record, Forbes accused Brown of “deliberately trying to paint a wildly inaccurate picture by lumping in the SNP Scottish Government with consecutive Westminster Tory governments responsible for year upon year of callous austerity attacks on the most hard-pressed families”.

“Bluntly, Gordon Brown is the very last person anyone in Scotland can trust on these issues”, she went on.

“He told people to vote No in 2014, promising respect for Scotland and equal partnership. Instead, we have had continued Tory austerity, Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, and Brexit imposed on Scotland against our will – a Brexit which Brown's Labour party now supports.”

She outlined steps which nations across Europe have taken to combat rising energy prices, such as Bulgaria freezing bills or France introducing a four per cent cap on rises, but said Westminster was sitting “on its hands”.

“Latest polling has shown that more than 80 per cent of people in Scotland are already worried and the heartbreaking situation in Ukraine will put greater pressure on fuel prices.

“But it's the UK Government which retains the power to intervene. There is no mechanism for the Scottish Government to do so because energy policy is fully reserved to Westminster,” Forbes wrote.

She further highlighted the doubling of the Scottish Child Payment and how the SNP government had “announced a six per cent uplift on a range of Scottish social security benefits”.

Forbes concluded: “There could not be a more glaring demonstration of the differences between governments north and south of the Border - or a clearer example of how Gordon Brown is talking out of his budget box of errors.”

Sharing Forbes’s response, on Twitter, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was “well worth a read”.