THE Scottish Government is being urged to plough more cash into Renfrewshire amid concerns it has been disproportionately hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Labour MSP Neil Bibby wants new ‘regional equality targets’ to ease the strain on people in Renfrewshire, which has had the fifth highest Covid-19 death rate in Scotland and above average unemployment levels, with a claimant count of 6.6 per cent.

This is on top of the thousands of job losses announced at Glasgow Airport and Rolls-Royce, in Inchinnan.

Mr Bibby, who represents Renfrewshire as part of his West Scotland remit, said it is now time for the Scottish Government to reintroduce equality targets, in order to bolster employment and wellbeing in deprived areas.

“Coronavirus has not affected all parts of Scotland the same,” he added.

“There needs to be additional targeted support to help our region recover and rebuild.

“We’ve already seen an increase of 12,520 in the number of Universal Credit claimants in West Scotland compared with this time last year and this is set to rise further. In Renfrewshire, that number has increased by 3,645.”

The Scottish Government said a range of initiatives are providing help to those in greatest need, including a new payment to tackle child poverty.

A spokesperson added: “As part of our £350million community funding package to support those most at risk, we more than doubled the Scottish Welfare Fund to £80million, paid carers in receipt of Carers Allowance an additional supplement and increased Discretionary Housing Payments.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have provided over £110million to tackle food insecurity.

“We are also taking action to support people into employment with a £100million package to help those looking for work or at risk of redundancy.

“Despite the restrictions in place as a result of the pandemic, we are continuing to provide support to individuals affected by redundancy through our Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) initiative.

“We have also extended the employment support service Fair Start Scotland for a further two years.”

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