NEW powers to top up the state pension and other UK welfare payments will be handed to the Scottish Government if Labour wins the General Election, Jim Murphy will announce today.

The Scottish Labour leader will outline plans to hand Holyrood greater control over welfare than was agreed by the parties during last year's Smith Commission talks.

Under the proposals, which will form part of Scottish Labour's election manifesto, Holyrood will gain full powers to create new benefits or top up existing UK entitlements.

Under the Smith agreement, Holyrood stands to gain welfare powers in devolved areas only.

Labour's plan would allow Scottish ministers to raise - but now lower - the state pension, child benefit and other payments.

The Scottish Government would also take full control over housing benefit and its £1.8billion budget, rather than the limited power to vary payment timings recommended by the Smith Commission.

The move would mean disentangling housing benefit from the new Universal Credit, which rolls several payments into one.

The measures would be included in Labour's proposed Home Rule Bill and introduced at Westminster within 100 days of a Labour election victory on May 7.

Mr Murphy will make the announcement in a speech in Edinburgh, when he will be joined by Gordon Brown, the chief architect of the devolution "Vow" made jointly by the pro-UK parties days before the referendum.

The Scottish Labour leader will describe his plan as the "Vow Plus" and claim it will make Holyrood the most powerful devolved parliament in the world.

He will say: "Scottish Labour's commitment to delivering the Vow is absolute.

"However delivering the Vow is a starting point not an end point for Scottish Labour.

"Smith was a consensus between five parties. A Labour approach to powers, and to the use of powers, will reflect our different values and different ambitions for Scotland."

Mr Brown will say: "Within 100 days a Labour Government will introduce a bill not just to implement the Vow and the Smith Agreement but that we will go further than The Vow and further than Smith."

Labour's proposed Home Rule Bill will also ensure the Work Programme, the UK Government's controversial initiative to help the unemployed, will be devolved to local authorities in Scotland, Mr Murphy will say.

The pledge comes as the leader of Scotland's largest local authority steps up pressure on the Scottish Government to hand councils control over the Work Programme when UK contracts comes to an end.

Glasgow council leader Gordon Matheson has written to the Scottish Government requesting formal talks on developing a replacement for the scheme that could be delivered by the city.

In a letter to Roseanna Cunningham, the Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training, he said: "There is a compelling case for the administration of the devolved Work Programme to be delivered locally by government and city-regions."