COUNCIL bosses are set to appeal to the Scottish Government for more money after Greenock town centre was named the 'most deprived' place in the country.

Officials are preparing to bid for 'special case' funding after being challenged by Inverclyde MSP, Stuart McMillan.

It comes after the government's latest Scottish index of multiple deprivation (SIMD) study published last week ranked the town centre and east central as the 'most deprived' part of the country.

Councillor Jim Clocherty, depute leader of Inverclyde Council, has called on Mr McMillan and the government to work with the local authority to secure extra cash.

Mr Clocherty said: "It's time for the finger pointing to stop and for all of us to knuckle down and get to work on the issues raised in these deprivation figures.

"After the revelations that we can bid for special case funding from the government, I've invited our constituency MSPs to meet to support our area in putting in a bid that brings our community planning partners and the wider community together.

"While the underlying issues affecting deprivation and depopulation particularly in the west of Scotland may be long-standing, they can be solved with ambition, partnership and significant resources directed in the right way."

The council had blamed the dismal deprivation statistics on Scottish Government austerity which has seen millions of pounds wiped from the budget.

Last year, public spending watchdogs, the Accounts Commission, said Inverclyde was one of the hardest hit in the country with a 'higher than average' 10.3 per cent reduction in funding.

The Scottish Parliament's independent research unit SPICe said the level of cuts since 2013 is the equivalent of £104 for every local citizen.

The government insists funding for councils has gone up but local authorities say extra cash is 'ring-fenced' for specific purposes, such as nursery provision and social care, meaning there is less to spend on day-to-day services.

Ministers have also provided financial support towards projects such as the £19 million Ocean Terminal development and the new £21m Greenock Health Centre.

Mr McMillan accused the council Labour-led council administration of being 'asleep at the wheel' over the 'sobering' deprivation stats - but has offered his support to devise a funding bid.

The SNP MSP said: "I'm more than happy to meet with Cllr Clocherty.

"The most crucial thing we must remember is that we are dealing with people's lives and the future of our community. "The prize for us all is to help make Inverclyde a better place for everyone who lives, works, trades and visits the area. "With that goal, we can make progress for Inverclyde's present and future generations."