A NATIONAL initiative to increase the minimum School Clothing Grant “won’t make much difference” to pupils in Clydebank, according to a local charity.

West Dunbartonshire Council already hands out the new £100 lower limit to those families struggling to buy school uniforms – a figure which was introduced in 2014.

The council’s opposition Labour group has hit out at the ruling SNP administration for “slipping behind more progressive councils”, but the SNP claims they have been used as a “model of good practice” for other areas.

Clair Coyle, a trustee at West Dunbartonshire Community Foodshare, said this is the fourth year the charity has run a uniform bank to help families cover the cost of dressing for school, and each year, the number of clients is increasing.

She said: “The levels of poverty in West Dunbartonshire are shocking. Providing children with a school uniform actually helps to improve attainment, as they have the correct uniform and don’t feel embarrassed.

“It is great that there will be a new minimum £100 school clothing grant across Scotland but West Dunbartonshire has received this amount for some time, so it won’t really make a difference to those in the area.”

Councillor Martin Rooney, leader of the Labour opposition, called on the SNP to invest more than the new minimum.

He said: “Although we pay the national minimum of £100 per child to eligible families, under the SNP we are actually slipping behind other more progressive councils.

“Parents already know that the costs of a uniform for secondary school children will be much higher than for primary school pupils, so it would make sense that the council should be working towards achieving the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) target of a minimum of £129.50 for pupils as a priority.”

In response, council leader and SNP councillor Jonathan McColl said: “I am extremely proud that our government is investing in young people and I was very happy to join colleagues cross party in committing councils across Scotland to provide the same high level of clothing grant that we do in West Dunbartonshire.”

Ms Coyle added that the charity also support those who miss out on the School Clothing Grant.

She said: “We support people in several different ways and some people who don’t qualify for the clothing grant rely on the uniform bank.

“We receive funding which allows us to buy uniform on top of the donations we get from the public, but this funding will only go so far.

“So we still really need donations. There are collection buckets at all the local supermarkets and uniform can also be dropped at the Citizens Advice Bureaus.”

The school clothing grant is set to be reviewed every two years.