FIRST Minister Humza Yousaf has said the decision by Inverclyde Council to U-turn on its council tax increase was “embarrassing”, as he visited the area to “celebrate” the council tax freeze being adopted by all 32 local authorities.

The First Minister attended a rally in Greenock, Inverclyde, less than a week before the anniversary of becoming the party’s leader.

Speaking to around 50 activists who gathered outside Inverclyde Council’s building, Yousaf (below) said it was “the greatest honour” of his life to lead the SNP.

The National: First Minister Humza Yousaf speaking at the SNP independence convention (Jane Barlow/PA)He praised grassroots activists for “climbing the tenements, putting the leaflets through doors, whatever the weather”, and said their role was “absolutely crucial” ahead of the General Election.

He added: “None of us gets elected without the drive and hard work of activists.”

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Rebel regions Inverclyde Council and Argyll and Bute Council both initially refused to adopt the council tax freeze but later U-turned, sparking a “celebration” rally by the SNP, which was also attended by Ronnie Cowan (below), SNP MP for Inverclyde.

The National: Ronnie Cowan has called for a dramatic change in the lawYousaf said he felt a decision by leader of Inverclyde Council, Labour councillor Stephen McCabe (below) to increase council tax rates was driven by “spite” and “hate” of the SNP, and branded the policy U-turn “embarrassing”.

The National: He urged McCabe to “step aside and let the SNP group” run the council, adding: “They’ll happily run the council with a far better job than he is doing.”

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However, McCabe described the rally as “sad”, and wrote on wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “How sad that the First Minister of Scotland travelled all the way from Dundee to Greenock on a Saturday afternoon to stand outside a closed Council headquarters to get his photo taken.”

In a post on Twitter/X, the First Minister said: "We promised a national Council Tax freeze and that’s exactly what @theSNP  has delivered. Despite Labour’s shameful attempt to hike bills in Inverclyde. In the midst of a Westminster cost of living crisis, @theSNP’s fully-funded freeze will support households across Scotland."

Ahead of the visit, Yousaf said: “In October last year I promised a national council tax freeze for households across Scotland and that is what the SNP is delivering.

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“Despite Labour’s attempts to stop people in Inverclyde from receiving this support, I am delighted that we are succeeding in delivering it.

“Council tax bills will be effectively frozen in all 32 local authorities next year.

“Council tax bills in Scotland are already hundreds of pounds a year lower than they are in England and this fully-funded council tax freeze gives people even more relief whilst they grapple with increased costs.”