LABOUR and the SNP have gone to war over the issue of poverty, with both parties claiming they are best placed to offer voters an end to Tory austerity.

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy yesterday visited an Edinburgh foodbank where he said he would set up a £175m anti-poverty fund and repeated his claim that a vote for any party other than his own would make five more years of Conservative rule more likely.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls will attempt to drive home the message today with a speech in Glasgow, where he will say that taxes on bankers, top earners and a clampdown on tax avoidance will mean an extra £800 million for public services north of the border.

Meanwhile, SNP depute leader Stewart Hosie hit the campaign trail in Gordon Brown's back yard of Kirkcaldy where he said his opponents remained wedded to an austerity agenda, pointing out that Labour had admitted it would make spending cuts if it wins power next month.

The nationalists have laid out plans for public spending increases which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has insisted can be implemented at the same time as tackling the budget deficit.

The issue took centre stage as Labour intensified efforts to turn the tide against an SNP surge in its traditional heartlands, with opinion polls predicting the political map of Scotland will be redrawn after May 7 with dozens of once safe seats set to fall to the nationalists.

Mr Balls' visit to Glasgow comes two days after former Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke in the city, which had been considered a Labour stronghold for much of the last century but backed independence in September.

He will claim the only alternative to Tory austerity is a UK Labour budget after the general election and set out three reasons he believes a vote for the SNP is one for "extreme" Tory austerity.

He is expected to say: "First, because they have failed to back Labour's fair tax changes across the UK which means we can have extra investment for the NHS, education and young people.

"Second, because the SNP remains wedded to a fiscal approach for Scotland which rejects the pooling and sharing of resources across the United Kingdom. That doesn't just mean scrapping the Barnett formula - damaging though that would be. The SNP's plans for Scotland would mean, according to the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies, £7.6 billion of spending cuts and tax rises. This would have a hugely damaging impact on living standards and public services in Scotland.

"And third, because a vote for the SNP means it is more likely David Cameron stays in Downing Street. Every vote in this election that might allow the Tories to be the largest party is a vote for Tory austerity to continue."

However, Mr Hosie said that Labour "could not hide the fact that they have shamefully backed George Osborne's plans for a further £30 billion of cuts" and, like the Tories, support an "economically illiterate and morally indefensible" plan to spend £100 billion on renewing Britain's nuclear arsenal.

He said: 'Under the SNP plans set out by Nicola Sturgeon, we could see a modest increase in public spending, allowing us to protect our NHS budget, invest in education and childcare, and create more job opportunities for our young people.

''A strong team of SNP MPs working with progressive allies from across the UK will put an end to the ideological commitment to austerity of both the Tory and Labour leaderships - delivering real support for businesses, protecting our public services and creating more opportunities for our young people.''

John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister, accused Mr Balls of pretending to be anti-austerity, after Ed Miliband confirmed he would make spending cuts.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is due to join Liberal Democrat Equalities Minister Jo Swinson in her East Dunbartonshire constituency today.

The pair will speak about a plan to triple paternity leave for dads and mark the introduction of shared parental leave across the UK.

Yesterday, the Liberal Democrats focused on health as Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael campaigned in the north east of Scotland, where candidate Christine Jardine is hoping to retain the Gordon constituency for the party and thwart Alex Salmond's hopes of a return to Westminster.

Mr Carmichael said the General Election on May 7 was a "golden opportunity to secure better healthcare for Scotland'' as he challenged rival parties to match Lib Dem plans to commit an extra £800 million for the NHS.

He said: '''My challenge to the other parties in Scotland is this - will you match our ambition for the health service and give doctors and nurses the support they need, and tell us how you plan to fund it?''