COUNCILS across Scotland, with Clackmannanshire being no exception, are quickly running out of patience with the SNP Government in Holyrood and it is not difficult to see why.

Earlier this year, the SNP Government promised that it would adopt a new and improved relationship with local councils across Scotland, when it signed what was dubbed the 'Verity House Agreement.'

Amongst other things, this document promised there would be 'improved engagement' with local government on issues such as council budgets.

Then last month, First Minister Humza Yousaf apparently took it upon himself to announce that the Scottish Government would freeze council tax rates across Scotland for at least the next financial year.

Despite the fact this announcement has a major impact on council budgets, which our local services depend on, it was then revealed that councils hadn't even been consulted about this decision.

So it seems that, barely three months after signing this agreement, the SNP are now pretending it never existed.

Of course, with the cost of living still high, it is right that governments take action to protect household finances where possible.

But the Scottish Government has a huge number of different powers in this area, and there are many other ways to assist with the cost-of-living crisis without tying the hands of councils in the process.

Because the truth is that this announcement is terrible news for smaller councils such as Clackmannanshire, who rely on being able to set their own council tax rates to carefully balance their budget.

With this control being taken away from them for at least the next year, managing council finances will be far more challenging and local services such as our roads and schools may be facing cuts as a result.

The SNP could have at least reassured councils that they will be fully compensated for this freeze, so they are not forced to cut services to make up for it.

But so far, the Scottish Government have provided no such reassurances.

Even COSLA – the voice of local government in Scotland – has condemned the decision to freeze council tax and have rightly highlighted that this should be a decision for councils themselves to make.

But unfortunately, this latest betrayal of councils is hardly surprising when you look at how the SNP's record when it comes to local government.

For the last decade, councils have been forced to helplessly watch the SNP slash their budgets, while at the same time the Scottish Government's own budget increased to record-high levels.

As a result, council's budget decisions in recent years have been less a case of how they can empower their local communities, and more a case of which services they need to cut.

This council tax freeze is just the latest example of the SNP's tried and tested 'modus operandi' of running roughshod over local government.

The SNP have often had the nerve to accuse the UK Government of disrespecting the Scottish Parliament; however, in reality, if you want to see an example of disrespect between two tiers of government, you need only look at how the SNP Government has been treating Scottish councils for the last 16 years.