ALL of Scotland's local authorities look set to adopt the Scottish Government's council tax freeze, after a council which previously agreed to a 10% increase confirmed it was "reconsidering".

Argyll and Bute Council leader Robin Currie said he will advocate for the freeze at a special meeting next month following a series of “positive talks” with the Scottish Government.

Along with Inverclyde Council, the local authority initially defied the Scottish Government’s freeze.

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison (below), who is also in charge of Scotland’s finances, previously said councils who raised council tax would not receive a share of the additional £62.7 million in extra funding.

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The council's turnaround comes as Argyll and Bute said it has been given “extra assistance” to deal with the impact of severe weather support.

Currie said: “We can now look at freezing council tax for the coming year.

“We have been lobbying hard for equal support for Argyll and Bute which reflects the incredibly severe impact of unprecedented severe weather in October last year.

“We made a very strong case for that to the Scottish Government at a meeting we asked for in January this year.

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“We have continued to press ministers ever since on a range of other issues. We are of course delighted that they have listened to our calls for severe weather support and that they have now provided for Argyll and Bute that extra assistance that we are fighting for.”

The council states additional funding totalling around £6.26m means the overall financial circumstances are improved.

That included £2.3m for the impact of severe weather in October and £1.1m for Argyll and Bute through the additional £62.7m if it agrees the freeze.

It would also see the council receive £2.86m through the share of £147m funding for a freeze.

Currie added: “We see this as acknowledgement of a number of significant issues.

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“It is recognition of the unique challenges that Argyll and Bute faces, which we fight for at every possible opportunity.

“It reinforces the important role of local government.

“And it supports what has been our priority all along – protecting vital local jobs and services.

“I will be recommending that we freeze council tax for this year at a special meeting of the council.”

'Deeply frustrating'

The Inverclyde Council rise would have seen an 8.2% rise this year and 6% the following year.

However, on Tuesday council leader Stephen McCabe said he was "reluctantly" recommending that the council reverse its decision.

He wrote to Robison to state he would use the additional funding to offer a council tax rebate to Inverclyde residents, amounting to a freeze.

McCabe said it was “deeply frustrating” that the Scottish Government would not give Inverclyde a share of the funding, worth £2.9m, unless it froze council tax.

He said those funds would have been better spent protecting local services.

“It is clear however that you will not allow the people of Inverclyde to benefit from the £2.9m of funding unless the council agrees to the terms,” McCabe said.

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“I can advise therefore that reluctantly, and subject to you providing written confirmation that our share of the £147.3m council tax freeze grant and the additional £62.7m negotiated by Cosla is not less than the total of £2.9m you have repeatedly stated, I will recommend to the Policy and Resources Committee at the next available opportunity that we make a one-off credit to council taxpayers to fully mitigate the impact of the 8.2% increase in council tax approved for 2024-25.

“I will also recommend to the committee an amended planning assumption for the 2025/26 provisional budget based on the 2023/24 council tax baseline being the start point.”

The reversal from both Inverclyde and Argyll and Bute councils is subject to a vote being passed.

The Deputy First Minister said: “I am pleased that Argyll & Bute and Inverclyde councils have signalled their intentions for council tax in 2024-25.

“If the councils proceed with these decisions, council tax will effectively be frozen across the whole of Scotland, with households in 31 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities having a simple freeze in their council tax next year, and those in Inverclyde receiving a one-off rebate to reverse the impact of their 8.2% increase.

“This will directly benefit people in every part of Scotland during an ongoing cost-of-living crisis.”

SNP MSP Willie Coffey, who sits on Holyrood’s Local Government Committee, said: "The SNP promised to freeze council tax for every household in Scotland - and we will fulfil that promise.

"The fully funded council tax freeze, alongside policies such as the game-changing Scottish Child Payment, ensures that thousands of pounds are put back into the pockets of hard working families in Scotland. 

"Freezing council tax will benefit every single household in Scotland, helping to support people through the Westminster cost of living crisis. 

"The SNP Government is working tirelessly to protect the people of Scotland from cruel Westminster policies."