COUNCIL tax bills in the Kingdom will rise by 4.84 per cent from April with councillors agreeing £5.9 million of cuts to balance the budget.

The proposals were voted through at Fife House today despite a deal struck yesterday that should see Fife Council get an extra £6.3m from the Scottish Government.

Councillors couldn't take the additional money from Holyrood into account in their budget discussions as it's yet to be confirmed how much they'll get and if there are "any strings attached" – it could be ring-fenced for a particular purpose.

The joint administration of the SNP and Labour had stated that the children and families services, which are predicting an overspend of around £10m, would be a "priority for any additional funding that becomes available from the Scottish Government".

Plans for the money should be unveiled at the next full council meeting on March 12.

Delays arising from December's general election, with the UK Government yet to set its budget, left the Scottish Government preparing a draft budget without knowing how much money they were going to get from Westminster.

It means that while a local government settlement was announced, further funding could come the way of the councils.

However, Fife had to set their budget today and budget proposals were therefore presented to deal with a 1.13 per cent reduction in the core grant from the Scottish Government, which had contributed to a £15.5m hole in the general revenue fund budget for 2020-21.

The council tax rise, by the maximum amount permitted by the Scottish Government, will see bills for band D properties jump from £1,221 to £1,280 a year, or £4.93 per month.

Council house rents will rise by three per cent, up by £2.20 to an average weekly rent of £75.45.

The rise in council tax will bring in around £7.9m and 'savings' of £5.9m were agreed to bridge the gap, with £3.5m coming out of education and children's services.

Council co-leader, Labour councillor David Ross, said: “This has been a very difficult process with unprecedented levels of uncertainty about the funding available to us.

"With this budget we have done all we can to protect local services and keep them running as best we can.

“But the demand for support keeps increasing, we can’t avoid making cuts to services that we know all too well, are having a real impact on real people.

"And we can’t completely avoid making savings in education, which is our biggest area of spend.

"However, we are protecting the number of pupil support assistants in our schools and refusing to cut back on school cleaning.

"We’re not introducing charges to pick up home garden waste, reducing funding to leisure services or scaling back the Café Inc initiative which provided 130,000 meals to Fife families through the school holidays last year.”

The joint administration's proposals were agreed, with 45 councillors voting in favour.

There were 12 votes for a Tory amendment and five for the Lib Dem amendment. Two councillors, Labour's Mary Lockhart and independent Linda Holt, abstained.

Council co-leader and SNP councillor David Alexander said: "Across the country, councils are trying to mitigate against the impacts of national austerity policies, but there’s only so much we can do.

“The deal announced by the Scottish Government yesterday will relieve some of the ongoing pressure council services are under and potentially open up some new investment opportunities.

"Although it has yet to be confirmed, we hope Fife will receive an extra £6.3m in grant funding, which is more than the savings we’re now planning to make.

"Councillors will review the budget position in March and we’ll seriously consider how this additional funding can be put to best use for the people of Fife.

“In the meantime, ring-fenced funding is letting us employee some 350 extra staff to provide more valuable, free childcare for 4,500 families.

"And we have chosen to re-invest some of the money we’ll generate from savings measures into a new 50 per cent reduction in music tuition charges for second, and subsequent, children.

"This is something Fifers have repeatedly told us they’re passionate about.”

Investment will also see £75,000 to cover a shortfall in funding for the Developing the Young Workforce programme.