PEOPLE living in Scotland’s capital will face a three per cent rise in the council tax bills from April, the local authority’s leader has said.

Edinburgh city council chief Adam McVey confirmed the planned increase to the Sunday National amid speculation the country’s other local authorities will follow suit.

Council taxes were frozen by all 32 councils last year at the height of the pandemic, but in an unprecedented move before Christmas, all 32 local authorities leaders complained to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon about next year’s funding settlement.

They accused the SNP/Green Government of handing them a £371million cut and warned of deep cuts and massive council tax rises.

Last month Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said an extra £120 million will be given to local authorities in a minimise any council tax increases and help tackle the cost of living crisis.

She said the extra funds meant there was no need for “inflation-busting” council tax rises.

However, local authorities said the additional money still leaves them with a £250m shortfall meaning cuts to roads as well as library, culture and youth services may still be needed as well as council tax rises.

“With the Tory cost of living crisis, we’ve listened carefully to the need to limit Council tax increases to 3%,” McVey. who leads the SNP/Labour council, told the Sunday National.

“I’m grateful to the Finance Secretary for giving so much of her own time and setting out the Government’s position so openly.

“We will continue to have dialogue on the issues that matter most to people in Edinburgh and making sure that the council’s position is as strong as it can be to deliver the best possible services for our residents.”

Councillors in Edinburgh are expected to back the 3% rise later this month.

Speaking on Sunday, Alison Evison, president of Cosla, welcomed the £120m extra funding but insisted that vital services such as roads and libraries face deep cuts next year.

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show, Evison said council leaders held a “really positive” meeting with the First Minister the day before the extra funding was announced.

She added the additional cash will be “taking off some of the pressures that local government faces”, but warned “it’s not going to do any more for our communities”.

Evison added: “This money isn’t enough – it helps get rid of the pressures and it’s really positive to get rid of some of the immediate pressures that local government is facing, but it doesn’t do anything to invest in all the services.

“For many years now, we have faced cuts to the core council budget. When we think about what we have to deliver to our communities, only 38% of the council budget is up for councils themselves to decide how to spend it.

“When we need to make cuts, when we need to make savings, it can only come from that 38% of the council budget, which is things like roads, it is things like youth work – it is our libraries, our culture services.

“That’s the only bit that we can take savings from, so when we are still facing, this year, £250m-worth of cuts, those are the things that councils will have to look at taking savings from.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Thursday people in England would be offered a £150 rebate for council tax, with devolved governments receiving Barnett funds to enable them to do the same, as part of additional support to address the cost of living rises. Only those in council tax bands A-D will receive the rebate.

Sturgeon committed to spend “every penny” received to mitigate the energy price hike but failed to pledge to match the UK Government’s council tax rebate scheme. She said: “I give a commitment here that, assuming there are consequentials, which I would expect there to be, every single penny of them will go, in Scotland, to helping people deal with the cost-of-living crisis.” She added average council tax bills are lower in Scotland with around 400,000 people not paying any council tax because they receive 100% relief.