THE leader of the council has questioned why Tory councillors didn’t back a budget which has promised investment in Renfrewshire schools.

The SNP led administration will introduce a 4.79 per cent council tax rise for the coming financial year – ring-fencing 1.7 per cent to unlock cash for roads and schools.

Maurice Golden MSP directed criticism at Councillor Iain Nicolson for the rise and asked the council leader whether he fought Renfrewshire’s corner with Scottish Government Finance Secretary Derek Mackay.

READ MORE: Tories and SNP clash over council tax hike in Renfrewshire

Mr Golden said: “Last week we have seen SNP councillors, led by Iain Nicolson, vote to hit Renfrewshire families with a council tax rise of almost 5 per cent.

“With Finance Secretary Derek Mackay representing many of these communities, I am asking if Councillor Nicolson lobbied him for a fairer funding deal, to avoid these major tax rises.

“The SNP are continually short-changing our local authorities year after year and Renfrewshire residents deserve to know if the council leader is fighting their corner.”

Councillor Nicolson confirmed his administration met with ministers during the budget setting process.

He then blasted Conservative elected members for not backing a budget which has set aside £40 million for roads over the next five years and £29 million for school estate.

Instead seven Tory councillors backed an alternative budget put forward by the Labour group, which was not voted through.

Councillor Nicolson said: “We have many regular meetings with various ministers as council leaders.

“We work together to secure the best deal we can for our respective councils in a number of different areas.

“We have secured huge investment by collaborative working. We’re pleased that additional funding was secured for Renfrewshire through that process which put us in a better place financially.

“Mr Golden should really be asking why his Conservative colleagues voted against a massive investment in the future of our local communities, including £40 million for roads, £27 million for local schools including Paisley Grammar School and Bishopton, St. Anthony’s and Kirklandneuk primary schools.

READ MORE: Renfrewshire council tax increase to 'benefit every single community in the area'

“The council tax rise equates to £1.10 per week for a band D property.

“In Renfrewshire we believe in investing in our local communities, investing in our children and in our local businesses who want good quality roads and infrastructure.

“That’s where the council tax rise is going – not into job cuts and services being slashed, which is what the Tories want to see.”

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond