A DECISION to spend up to £50,000 to fund an additional bank holiday for the King’s coronation by a cash-strapped Scottish council has been described as “obscene” amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Elected members on Labour-led Inverclyde Council unanimously rubber-stamped the move earlier this month before highlighting a £3.8 million shortfall facing the local authority on top of £6.7m of savings that have already been taken “as a result of the Scottish Government’s settlement” in a letter to stand-in finance secretary John Swinney.

The council’s budget working group also called for greater flexibility for local authorities to manage their own finances and less "ring-fenced" funding.

At a committee meeting, it was confirmed the cost of an additional bank holiday for the council would be up to £50,000 and this would come from “existing budgets”, however it was stressed the exact cost is difficult to quantify.

READ MORE: Councillor accuses police of 'aggressive' conduct in Greenock

This estimation comes despite a report in 2019 about an additional bank holiday for the 75th anniversary of VE Day stating that could have cost up to £100,000.

Ex-Alba councillor Chris McEleny criticised the decision which he branded as “obscene”, especially given the context of Inverclyde as one of the most deprived areas in Scotland.

He said: “It is obscene at a time the council is consulting over millions of pounds of cuts to vital services, the closure of important community facilities, added to Inverclyde being one of the most deprived communities in Scotland, with one in four children living in poverty, that members of the council would approve spending a five-figure sum to celebrate the placing a crown made of gold and jewels stolen from the Indian sub-continent on the head of a man in London.

“It’s an event that is completely meaningless in constitutional terms.

“It will be very interesting to see which councillors think our council tax should be increased, and by how much, when they’re sitting on an enormous amount of reserves and voted for wasting vital resources on funding a public holiday to celebrate the coronation of a King that the majority of Scotland don’t want.”

READ MORE: Irn-Bru helps woman complete 'world's toughest row' in record time

It was confirmed at the committee meeting there were no dedicated council events planned for the coronation day but the local authority “would normally” support the community to mark the occasion.

An Inverclyde Council spokesperson said: “The coronation of a monarch is an historic moment and one that many will not have seen in their lifetime with both the Scottish and UK Governments encouraging the introduction of an additional, one-off bank holiday to allow individuals, businesses and other organisations to celebrate this significant occasion.

“With all of that in mind, a one-off bank holiday has been approved for Monday 8 May 2023 to create a three-day ‘Coronation Weekend’.

“Council buildings and offices will be closed on that day and most staff will have the day off. Any employees who are required to work on Monday 8 May 2023 to provide essential services or where there are exceptional work pressures they will be paid in the normal way for a public holiday. 

“Any costs will be contained within existing budgets so there will be no additional cost to the council in line with our normal bank holiday procedures.”