POVERTY can only be successfully tackled if South Lanarkshire Council ensures its efforts really help struggling families.

The message from the area’s opposition Conservatives came as councillors considered the progress of a major programme intended to ensure primary school children do not go hungry.

Concerns have emerged the authority’s SNP administration is not looking closely at whether breakfast clubs reach families who most need them.

The Tories want the authority to ensure breakfast clubs can provide meaningful support.

Speaking after the education committee last week (Tuesday 7 May) the leader of the opposition Conservative Group, Councillor Alex Allison, said: “It is crucial projects aimed at tackling poverty actually help people in our communities.

“This sort of project is too important for the council’s SNP administration to focus on just being seen to do something. The programme needs to really make a difference for people.”

He continued: “The evidence so far shows quite low take-up of breakfast club places, so we need to know why most people are choosing not to use them.”

“These clubs offer a healthy breakfast to pupils before class, which gives parents extra time to get to work and helps those on low incomes to make their household budget go further.

“A proper analysis is needed so councillors of all parties can see if there are barriers to families who could find these clubs useful.

“For example, are clubs held before school buses arrive, which would make it hard for some children to take part?

“The administration cannot sit back and say ‘we created a project to tackle poverty’ – the Conservative opposition will insist that they really deliver and help people across South Lanarkshire.”