MICHAEL Gove has offered to meet with Scottish local authority leaders amid a row over council tax.

We told last week how the Labour council leaders in Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire wrote to the Levelling Up Secretary and called for him to stage an “urgent intervention” over the Scottish Government’s freeze of the levy.

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison had warned authorities who did not accept the freeze and opted to hike the tax, as Inverclyde did last week, they would not be given funding from Holyrood.

READ MORE: SNP depute leader: ‘Let’s consider withdrawing MPs from Westminster’

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.

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

West Dunbartonshire has not yet made a final decision on the freeze, while Argyll and Bute, an authority led by a coalition of Tory, LibDem and Independent councillors, have agreed to a 10% rise.

And now, the Herald on Sunday reports that Gove said he disagreed with the conditions being put on the funding for the freeze by Scottish ministers.

The National:

He told the newspaper that councils had been “denigrated and defunded” by Humza Yousaf and Shona Robison.

“What I do want to do is to talk to all the councils in Scotland through Cosla in order to see what more we can do to help,” Gove added.

Stephen McCabe, Inverclyde leader, and Martin Rooney, West Dunbartonshire leader, both wrote to Gove as authorities across Scotland voted on their Budgets.

Asked if he would intervene, Gove said: “I know local government in Scotland is having a tough time. And the SNP council tax freeze policy has meant that the money that we handed to the Scottish Government quite rightly for them to pass on to local government, they're holding back in certain circumstances.

READ MORE: Willy Wonka Glasgow experience highlights rise of AI ‘scams’

“I don't think that's the right approach by the Scottish Government. But I respect the devolution settlement, so that's a matter for them.

“What I do want to do is to talk to all the councils in Scotland through Cosla in order to see what more we can do to help.”

Gove added: “It's significant that the two council leaders who've asked for support are Labour council leaders and that Labour politicians want the Conservative government to help them, so we'll see what we can do in our conversations. As I say, I don't want to upset the devolution settlement.”

The National: Finance Secretary Shona Robison is set to deliver the Scottish Budget

We told how Robison slammed the Labour figures' calls for a UK Government intervention as “ridiculous” and said they were simply “playing politics”.

Speaking on The National’s Holyrood Weekly podcast, the DFM said: “It’s quite a spectacle, isn't it, of Labour council leaders running to a Tory minister to ask him to bypass the democratic institution of the Scottish Parliament? That's quite a look.”

And, McCabe told a meeting of councillors in Inverclyde that he had defied Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar over the freeze. Sarwar has previously advocated for it.