Confirmation that the SNP Government’s draft budget will leave Argyll and Bute Council with a £9 million financial gap has been criticised by local politicians.

In a joint call to the SNP’s Finance Minister, Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron and Argyll and Bute councillor Alastair Redman have condemned the cuts to Argyll and Bute Council’s budget, and called on a rethink by the SNP.

Savings already agreed by the local authority in February, along with proposals to increase council tax have meant that the funding gap has already been reduced from £9 million to £5 million.

However, the council have admitted that “valued services” could face the chop as a result of the budget.

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron said: “Despite having an increased budget in cash terms, the SNP are still looking to take an axe to local government funding for Argyll and Bute. The SNP like to grandstand about protecting public services, but what this budget could mean is the loss of valued services which would be devastating for local communities across Argyll and Bute.

Local councillor Alastair Redman said: “In recent years, the SNP have seen fit to hit local councils with swingeing cuts, and yet expect us to provide high quality services. Our valued council staff do an amazing job, but they are increasingly coming under fire from a SNP Government who care more about bringing forward a second independence referendum, rather than getting on with the day job.”