HUMZA Yousaf has branded Gordon Brown’s criticism of Social Security Scotland as “highly partisan”.

Ex-Labour leader Brown took issue with the Scottish Government setting up a separate agency in order to deliver additional benefits than provided by the UK Government in an interview with The Scotsman.

He described it as a “waste of money” and said the Scottish Government wanted it for “status reasons”.

Yousaf was asked by The National what his response was to the comments following a climate speech he made in Edinburgh alongside US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.

READ MORE: Jeremy Corbyn backs indyref2 and says Labour should support it

He said: “I’m astonished that an individual who purports to support further devolution believes that Social Security Scotland – whose actions has helped to lift tens of thousands of children out of poverty – is a status symbol or a waste of money, particularly as I genuinely believe Gordon Brown is someone who passionately believes in the reduction of poverty.

“His remarks were highly partisan and I would ask him to think twice about making such comments because they are unfair to the men and women who work so hard at Social Security Scotland.”

Social Security Scotland has delivered 13 devolved benefits, seven of which are only available in Scotland.

The former prime minister claimed that instead of Scotland setting up its own agency, it should have relied upon UK’s Department for Work and Pensions.

Brown said: “Whatever benefits the Scottish Government decide, can be paid through the Department for Work and Pensions.

“So why did the Scottish Government spend £700 million in resources setting up a separate social security agency, when if you wanted a child poverty payment, it could be through the Department for Work and Pensions? I’ve never heard a satisfactory answer to that question.”

Many questioned the consistency of Brown’s statement with the apparent pro-devolution stance of his dark money think tank Our Scottish Future including SNP MP David Linden who said he was shocked to see Brown “siding with the Tories” and standing in the way of more powers to tackle poverty coming to Scotland.