A POTENTIAL £1.3million of extra funding could ease the pressure on Clackmannanshire Council’s upcoming budget for 2019-20.

The additional money came out of an agreement reached on the Scottish budget at Holyrood last week.

It is formed from £0.9m in core funding and a potential £430,000 from further increases in council tax. There is also a further £450,000 that may be freed up separately from a previously ring-fenced pot.

Indeed, the seven-figure sum accounts for around a tenth of the £11m budget gap cited in the local authority’s recent budget engagement document.

The £0.9m comes out of a £90m increase in the core settlement for councils across Scotland after the minority SNP government reached a key agreement with the Greens to help push the Budget Bill over the line.

The government is also giving local authorities the flexibility to raise council tax even further after the freeze on the levy ended in 2017.

The Greens welcomed the move while the Conservative opposition argued the measures could hit the poorest the most.

In terms of council tax, the maximum increase has been changed to a “real terms” 3 per cent hike, which the government said equates to 4.79 per cent – just below the five per cent ceiling set out south of the border.

In its budget engagement document, Clackmannanshire Council said a three per cent increase would raise £720,000 on top of the levy already collected – a further 1.79 per cent could bring in an additional £430,000.

It will be up for elected members to decide on council tax, but chief executive Nikki Bridle previously set out in the consultation paper that: “Officers are continuing to work to identify any further options for the coming years, as well as considering other ways of generating additional income to bridge the gap.”

Green MSP Mark Ruskell said the public response to proposed cuts demonstrated just how much locals value services.

He added: “Cutting these will destroy the fabric of our local communities, on top of the disadvantage that so many areas in Clacks already face.

“Today's Green budget deal gives Clacks Council up to £1.7million to protect these services and the jobs of front line workers, and I now expect to see funding restored to vital projects such as Clackmannanshire Works.”

However, Conservative MSP Alexander Stewart slated the SNP for breaking a promise on capping council tax increases at 3 per cent.

He said: “This will hit the Wee County hard, as there are many hard-working families from right across the income and property spectrum who will suffer Council Tax increases of up to 3 per cent at the moment, but possibly as much as 5 per cent.

“The Clackmannanshire Council budget will still have massive cuts to consider, even with additional funding that the Scottish Government is passing on to local authorities to enforce.

He also attacked measures that allow councils to set a workplace parking levy, adding: “Rural residents, who either do not trust the trains in the current climate or live too far away and have to drive into work and pay for parking, will also see a tax on their parking charges.”