HOUSEHOLDS in Argyll and Bute will face a whopping 10 per cent council tax rise in the spring.

The decision, which flies in the face of a commitment by First Minister Humza Yousaf last year that bills would be frozen across Scotland, was made at Argyll and Bute Council’s annual budget meeting on Thursday, February 222.

The tax rise was part of a package of budget measures put forward by the council’s ruling group of Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, and some independent councillors.

The authority’s ‘strategic opposition partnership’, comprising SNP, Labour and Green councillors and three independents, put forward an alternative budget plan that would have seen council tax rates frozen in line with Mr Yousaf’s pledge.

But the ruling group’s budget won the day by 18 votes to 16.

The 10 per cent increase also went against the recommendation of the council's own finance chief - who had suggested a rise of just over six per cent.

Council leader Robin Currie, said: “This is the most difficult budget this council has ever faced. The word ‘challenging’ is all too often used, but this council’s task goes far beyond that.

“We have taken the bold step of confirming the need to increase council tax by 10 per cent as forecast, because without this, we would have no hope whatsoever of filling the massive £30 million hole in our capital investment programme.

“This [capital investment programme] is the budget that covers roads, bridges, regenerational projects, keeping our schools going.

"This all helps to safeguard that, as well as jobs. Without this [the council tax increase] all of these would be at risk.

“This was a very hard decision, but those are also hard facts. It is a choice we have made after very careful consideration, not just because of the financial position, but because of the impact on households.”

Coouncillor Jim Lynch, leader of the authority's SNP group and of the Strategic Opposition Partnership, said: “The people of Argyll and Bute continue to find themselves in difficult times, with the rising cost of fuel, electricity and inflation. Our priorities reflect the needs of people at this moment in time.

“Regarding the council tax freeze, at a time of price rises, this will help protect households and give them some stability.

“I know that we store our reserves, but we have to fight the fire that is in front of us.”