INVERCLYDE Council is in talks with lottery bosses over concerns about a £2.2m anti-poverty project.

The three year I:DEAS programme was set up last September with the aim of helping 2,000 local people to escape debt.

But chief financial officer Alan Puckrin is concerned about the rules around the Big Lottery funded model and the financial risks involved.

Mr Puckrin said: "The committee needs to be aware that given the grant is outcome based and paid retrospectively.

"It does expose the council and partners to financial risk.

"This is being closely monitored."

Inverclyde Council was the lead partner in a successful bid to the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund for a share of a £17.3m pot to fund projects aimed at combating financial hardship.

The I:DEAS project is a mentoring programme also involving agencies such as Barnardo’s, CVS Inverclyde, Financial Fitness, River Clyde Homes, Scotcash and the Wise Group.

But a year on there are now problems emerging across the country with all five successful bids.

In his report Mr Puckrin added: "All five areas across Scotland are concerned with these considerable financial and reputational risks and have requested an urgent formal meeting with senior lottery colleagues, to discuss and find workable solutions to allow a successful programme delivery for all stakeholders."

The report goes on to say that although I:DEAS has had some extremely positive results for individuals, a number of challenges have emerged.

They have had fewer referrals than anticipated, difficulties achieving compliance and payment.