Former prime minister Gordon Brown is calling for a multibillion-pound programme to tackle childhood poverty.

He is urging Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to use a mini-budget later this year to announce a £3 billion drive to tackle the issue.

Mr Brown warned that without help, the number of children living in poverty could increase to a record 4.5 million.

He published a paper setting out potential emergency anti-poverty measures including bringing back the Sure Start programme, supporting the low waged and unemployed into better paid jobs, and extending the household support fund.

READ MORE: John Swinney: I'll dedicate every fibre to economic growth

Mr Brown said: "The sprawling nature of the poverty crisis - which has tentacles reaching into health, education, work, community, energy transport and more - should banish any illusion that this is a challenge that can be safely led from any one department.

"Instead, a cross-government task force will be required, not something separate from the departments that control the levers of delivery, but a body staffed with senior people embedded in each relevant ministry who then combine to advance a strategy in a single forum away from the usual silos.

"Coordination and administrative support in a comprehensive and integrated way at the centre of government would be one natural way to arrange this.

"But it has to have the chairmanship and thus the enthusiastic blessing of the Prime Minister for it to succeed. Without this level of high level sponsorship and true willingness to take big decisions, so-called 'task forces' can exert disappointingly little force."

The new First Minister John Swinney has said boosting economic growth to reduce child poverty will be a central goal of his government.