Opposition councillors in Helensburgh and Lomond have reacted with fury to the vote to impose a huge council tax rise on Argyll and Bute families.

Argyll and Bute councillors voted narrowly in favour of a 10 per cent tax hike, to take effect in April.

But two opposition councillors from the Helensburgh area have accused the local authority's ruling group of "political point-scoring" and of being "without humanity" as families in the area struggle with the rising cost of living.

The local administration's coalition of Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and some independents voted down an opposition budget package which would have delivered a council tax freeze.

The ruling TALIG coalition - The Argyll, Lomond and Islands Group - said the government had not provided enough money to keep taxes flat in the face of a £10 million revenue budget gap and a £30m black hole in the authority's capital spending plan.

Lomond North independent councillor Mark Irvine, who is not one of the independents on the TALIG coalition, said: ​"I am ashamed to have been part of a process where political point scoring took priority over the real needs of the residents of Argyll and Bute.

"The administration just want to blame Scottish Government and hide behind that while they ram another 10 per cent increase down our throats.

"The administration coalition simply don't care that people are struggling with rent increases, rising fuel costs, high interest rates and high inflation.

READ MORE: Argyll and Bute Council votes for 10 per cent tax rise

"Many families are living in poverty and relying on food banks to make ends meet. It's scandalous and shameful to ask them to find hundreds of pounds more in council tax.

"I voted for the total freeze which was proposed by the opposition group. By prudent use of reserves we would maintain our services and manage to help ease the burden on the hard working folk of Helensburgh and Lomond.

​"​It is scandalous to heap more misery on the residents of our area when the council has more than enough cash reserves to ease the budget pressures."

He continued: "What is the point of having reserves for 'rainy days'? It is 'raining' now and people are struggling. That's what reserves are for.

"Year after year after year TALIG have refused to mitigate the increases in council tax by using some of the reserves - which after all is taxpayers' money. And every year the residents of Helensburgh and Lomond have had to pay more and more.

Surely enough is enough and it's time for this administration to go. They are hanging on by a single vote majority - time for a change?"

READ MORE: Cllr Gemma Penfold: Argyll and Bute Council budget challenges

Labour councillor Fiona Howard insisted the opposition budget proposals were "balanced and fair".

She said: "I am totally disgusted by the imposition of any council tax rise when there was a viable option which would have saved the people of Argyll and Bute a huge amount of pain, but advocating a rise of 10 per cent is something I consider utterly despicable.

"The members of the Argyll and Bute administration have shown themselves to be without any humanity.

"To actually admit that there was plenty of money in the reserves, and then to still go ahead with that rise, is beyond the understanding of anyone with a conscience.

"I am proud of the balanced and fair budget proposed by the opposition members and truly disappointed that common sense and compassion lost the day."

Responding to the comments made by the two opposition councillors, Helensburgh Central councillor Gary Mulvaney, the authority's policy lead for finance and commercial services, said: "With the persistent underfunding of councils by the Scottish Government, we needed to protect services, jobs and future investment. 

"No one lightly takes these decisions and our budget reduces future revenue gaps by £3 million every year through that council tax increase. That in turns protects services and jobs in the future. 

"The opposition budget raided most of the reserves with no plan for next year. Unbelievably, their plan swiped £3m of a £6m pot for social care.

"So will I take no lessons on politicking and compassion from an elected independent and Labour councillor that work hand in glove with the SNP."