A council is to ring-fence £3.2m to fight poverty in an area which includes some of the worst pockets of deprivation in the country.

The announcement is in response to Renfrewshire Council's own Tackling Poverty Commission which reported this month on the scale of the problem in the area.

The cash injection is being described as a 'first step' and is to be targeted at prevention measures to stop people falling into poverty, and emergency responses to lift families out of hardship.

The council said its first priority was to focus on closing the attainment gap between pupils from high and low income households; reducing the cost of the school day; supporting residents facing food and fuel poverty; and stopping families from falling into hardship as a result of benefit sanctions. The council challenged the Scottish Government to match a £2m investment in supporting poorer families in education.

An additional £1m will be spent on the council's Families First programme which offers a range of support to the families of children aged 0-8, £170,000 will be invested in a fuel poverty task team, and £60,000 will help pay for a manager and new distribution centre for Renfrewshire Foodbank.

Council Leader, Councillor Mark Macmillan, said: "Poverty has blighted our area for decades and we will not stand by and see another generation left behind because they are caught in the poverty cycle. We will do all we can, but the Commission was clear that this is not a fight the council can win alone.

"We will also make it our priority to do all we can to press the UK Government to re-think its current benefit sanctions regime and work with us to trial a new work incentive approach here in Renfrewshire."

"I have written to Angela Constance, Minister for Children and Young People, urging that the Scottish Government's £100m Attainment Scotland Fund help children in Renfrewshire - home to the most deprived datazone in the country, and despite this, five other authorities have received funding, while Renfrewshire has received nothing."