THE chief executive of Argyll and Bute Council has warned that some tough decisions still lie ahead for the authority despite a cash injection from the Scottish Government announced last week.

The council will receive an extra £1.626m in a block grant as part of the Holyrood budget, which was passed through Parliament on Thursday, January 31.

Further money may also come in depending on levels of council tax set by the council when it plans its budget later in February.

The Scottish Green Party gave its backing to SNP ministers' spending plans, and claimed their deal would lead to up to £3.5 million in additional funds for Argyll and Bute – though it has since become clear that that £3.5m is dependent on the local authority using its tax-raising powers in full.

The council's policy and resources committee is due to meet on Thursday, February 14, followed by the full council a week later, with much of the discussion expected to be on the 2019/20 budget.

Cleland Sneddon, Argyll and Bute Council's chief executive, said: “The council welcomes the further £1.626 million in the block grant offered to Argyll and Bute Council for 2019/20 as a result of the Scottish Government’s budget.

"The council will also consider the additional financial powers indicated in the budget when it meets to set its own budget later this month.

"There will, however, still be many tough decisions on savings to make in order to deliver a balanced budget and provide sustainable services to our communities.”

The Greens also secured pledges from the SNP for reform or replacement of the council tax system, and backing for a so-called 'tourist tax', in return for backing finance minister Derek Mackay's budget.

Ross Greer, Green MSP for the West of Scotland said: "Everyone relies on local services like schools and social care, and local facilities such as sports centres and libraries.

"It's welcome that after consistent Green pressure the SNP Government have seen sense and committed to our demand for both immediate action and longer-term reform."