Renfrewshire Council’s administration have been accused of going against their election manifesto by introducing a council tax hike of almost five per cent.

Councillor James MacLaren, leader of the council’s Conservative group, hit out at the SNP group for dealing a “hammer blow” to taxpayers after pledging in their manifesto to keep bills as low as possible.

The Bridge of Weir, Bishopton and Langbank representative, who voted for an alternative budget proposed by the Labour group which included a council tax freeze, said the council leader Iain Nicolson should’ve worked harder with his colleagues to find a better deal for residents.

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But Cllr John Shaw, finance and resources boss, defended the move and said the increase would help towards significant investment in the area.

Cllr MacLaren said: “The SNP administration in Renfrewshire have just passed another budget which is a hammer blow to the hard-working taxpayers across our towns and villages.

 “The fact SNP councillors stood on a platform in 2017 ahead of council elections promising to keep council tax bills as low as possible is now not worth the paper it was written on.

 “I fully accept times are tough for councils in setting their budgets but perhaps SNP council leader Iain Nicolson should have shouted louder to his colleagues in the SNP Government to get Renfrewshire a fairer funding deal.

 “By putting up council tax bills by nearly five per cent, the administration are only punishing hard-working residents who will want a level of service in return for those increases.

 “The Conservative group will continue to hold the administration to account to deliver on the budget they passed which we simply couldn’t vote for.”

Band D residents will be paying £1.12 a week more from April 1 – or £58.32 more per year – with the bill now set at £1,315.42.

The administration’s £440million budget included cash to address the climate emergency, build a new Paisley Grammar and Thorn Primary school and help vulnerable people such as drug addicts.

The budget passed by 21 votes to 15. Three Tory members did not turn up to the meeting and Labour member Colin McCulloch abstained from the vote alongside Independent Paul Mack.

Cllr Shaw said: “Whilst Tory -controlled councils across Scotland increased their council tax by an average of 4.3 per cent, it is deeply disingenuous of Cllr Maclaren to claim his joint proposal with Labour of a council tax freeze in Renfrewshire was anything other than a cynical piece of political opportunism.

“With nearly half his Tory colleagues not turning up for the budget he knew this was a vote he could not win so was free to make these potentially hugely damaging proposals without fear of them having to be actioned.

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“The council tax increase was part of an SNP budget for Renfrewshire which seen tens of millions of pounds in new investment addressing the climate emergency, promoting inclusive growth and community empowerment, protecting the most vulnerable in society and investing in education and young people.”