HELENSBURGH householders, and those across Argyll and Bute, could be facing a 6 per cent council tax hike when bills are set later this month.

The recommended tax hike is less than the one senior councillors previously said they were considering - but still flies in the face of the pledge by Scotland's First Minister that council tax will be frozen across the country.

Members of the Argyll, Lomond and Islands Group (TALIG) - the authority's ruling coalition of Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and independents - issued a statement last month warning that a 10 per cent council tax increase in the 2024/25 financial year was a possibility.

However, officials from the authority have suggested an increase of 6.04 per cent, meaning owners of a band D property would pay £1,568 across the year.

Any increase in council tax would be at odds with the pledge made by Humza Yousaf in October that the charge would not rise at all.

The recommendation features in a report to go before the authority’s policy and resources committee on Thursday, February 15.

The council will set its budget a week later.

Executive director Kirsty Flanagan said: “The setting of council tax should happen on the same day as the council sets its revenue budget as once all proposals are considered, council tax is the balancing figure.

“The gap noted above is based on acceptance of the council tax freeze with funding from the Scottish Government equivalent to 4.8 per cent for Argyll and Bute being made available.

“In order to get to a balanced budget, [the] council should consider whether to reject the council tax freeze and increase council tax by 6.04 per cent to balance the budget.

“The alternative is that council would need to fund the gap using reserves or other funds held, which would be a one-off fix, however, members need to be mindful of the significant gap within the capital programme that requires funding.”

A six per cent increase to fees and charges for council services is also proposed in the report, although there would be no increase to school meal charges.