A LABOUR local authority chief has written to Tory ministers and begged them to overrule devolution and stop the council tax freeze from going ahead.

Stephen McCabe, Inverclyde council leader, has pleaded with Michael Gove to fund local authorities directly after the Scottish Government tied funding from Westminster to accepting the freeze, according to the Daily Record.

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison offered £147 million in funding to keep the levy at current levels, with an additional £45m incoming from the UK Government’s Budget in the coming weeks.

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However, Argyll and Bute Council has pushed ahead with a 10% increase, with Robison warning that authorities who follow suit will lose out on the Scottish Government cash.

The extra funding is expected to come from increases in funding on adult social care, which falls under the portfolio of Gove as Levelling Up Secretary.

The Record reports that following the row, McCabe has contacted Gove and asked him to bypass the Scottish Government.

He wrote: "You will be aware from press reports that the Scottish Government’s Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance Shona Robison MSP has advised Scottish Councils that they will only receive a share of the estimated £45m of Barnett consequentials from the UK Government if they agree to freeze Council Tax.

The National:

“I am seeking your urgent intervention to ensure that all Councils in Scotland receive a share of this additional funding, should it be allocated by the Chancellor in next week’s UK Budget.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was also reportedly copied into the letter.

We told how First Minister Humza Yousaf called on councillors in Argyll and Bute to reconsider imposing the “unjustifiable” 10% increase.

The FM announced the freeze during his keynote speech to the SNP conference last year, keeping bills the same during 2024-25, to help those struggling during the cost-of-living crisis.

However, local authority leaders were not consulted on the move and have been critical of the decision.

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Yousaf insisted that freezing the charge was still “the right thing to do.”

He said: “For those councils like Argyll and Bute, who I think unjustifiably raised their council tax in a cost-of-living crisis, they will have to answer to their constituents.”

The Scottish Government insists that the £147m funding is the equivalent of a 5% rise.

But crucially councils will not get this cash – or their share of a further £62.7 million offered by the government last week – if they do not agree to the freeze.