THERE'S only £1 million of a difference in their budget plans for Fife Council but the SNP have accused Labour of hypocrisy and "negativity".

While there is broad consensus on spending priorities such as roads, hardship funding, new vehicles and tackling school violence, they are still far apart on who's to blame for the financial challenges they face.

Leader of the opposition, SNP councillor David Alexander, said: "In all honesty the numbers are so close, there's only £1m of difference between us. That's it. It's the wording that's different.

"We could agree to join the budgets but I bet they won't.

Central Fife Times: Leader of the opposition at Fife Council, SNP councillor David Alexander.Leader of the opposition at Fife Council, SNP councillor David Alexander. (Image: Fife Council)

"They'll want their extra five per cent as they love taking money off people and say they're doing them a favour!"

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The general fund revenue budget will be set at Fife House on Thursday and it's sure to be lively after he dismissed half of the minority administration's budget report as "nonsense".

Cllr Alexander said: "How can anyone be negative when this is probably the biggest budget investment we've had, around £20m, for more than a decade?

"And no-one in Fife is being asked to pay a penny more in council tax.

"What we're putting forward is probably one of the best budgets we've seen.

"It's also the fourth year in a row that the council are proposing in making no cuts to services during the budget process.

"In the past six years we've also increased our workforce by 967 people but all you get from Labour is negativity and everything is a disaster.

"It's 100 per cent politics."

Of the £19.5m available, the SNP propose to spend £15.7m with over £3.7m left over to deal with any emerging pressures.

They would allocate £2.5m to the Scottish Welfare Fund, £2.1m to the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership - to take the total package up to £17.1m - and £5m for new vehicles.

There's a bit more cash for roads, £4m instead of £3.5m, and £100,000 for flood prevention schemes, but agreement on the money set aside for street cleansing and grounds maintenance, pedestrian access to recycling centres, one-to-one devices for pupils, educational psychologists for schools and subsidised bus contracts.

The SNP back the council tax freeze - and Cllr Alexander said it was hypocritical of Labour to oppose it when it's supported by the party's UK leader, Sir Keir Starmer, and a freeze has, in the past, been backed by Scottish leader Anas Sarwar and Fife MSP Alex Rowley.

Central Fife Times: The SNP have proposed an extra £4m to improve Fife's roads. The SNP have proposed an extra £4m to improve Fife's roads. (Image: Fife Council)

He also took issue with the suggestion a freeze only benefits more affluent households, stating: "It benefits people on low incomes and fixed incomes.

"And it helps a damn sight more than the five percent rise they imposed last year!"

On the points of difference, Cllr Alexander said there was "absolutely no need" to increase fees and charges for council services, such as funerals and cremations, by five per cent.

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And his party are proposing a four per cent rise in rents, rather than the five per cent the Labour administration have tabled.

The SNP councillor said: "All our problems are coming from somewhere else and it's not from the Scottish Government - which Labour managed to mention 19 times in their budget proposals!

"Half of what David Ross has written is nonsense.

"He comes up with stuff every year saying next year is going to be terrible with all these dire financial warnings and it never happens because we deal with it, we know in advance what the problems are and with the help of our officers and the Scottish Government we find a way.

"Labour don't want to admit it but we are one of the best funded local authorities in the UK.

"David said local government's revenue budget share from the Scottish Government had gone down from 33 per cent in 2013 to 24.5 per cent in 2024-25. It hasn't.

"If you look at the SPICE (Scottish Parliament Information Centre) figures, who are an independent body, it's actually gone up to 33.1 per cent." He continued: "The financial prospects are not great but what's killing us is inflation as that affects everything.

"The rising cost of living means our staff are looking for an increase to cover it, it pushes the prices up of our capital projects, revenue suffers, everything.

"The money from the UK Government to the Scottish Government doesn't cover inflation.

"It went up by 0.4 per cent, inflation just now is four per cent and last year was even worse, at some points it was 11 per cent.

"The Scottish Government have still managed to keep everyone in work in the NHS, we've no strikes and we've paid our guys what we can but how long can this go on?

"That's the debate."