The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, which is calling for councillors' remuneration to be linked to that of members of the Scottish Parliament and set at a minimum of£25,000, says the Executive is obliged to meet costs arising from new legislation (LGC, 6 February).
But finance minister Andy Kerr has told the Parliament's local government and transport committee the cost of the initiative - estimated at£22m annually - must be met from existing budgets.
COSLA policy manager Paolo Vestri dismissed Mr Kerr's remarks as a 'throwaway comment' and said the Executive was committed under its partnership agreement with councils to funding burdens arising from any new legislation.
Mr Kerr told the committee that three or four councillors per ward would be needed to ensure proportionality, the maintenance of the councillor-ward link and geographical diversity.
But that plan was attacked by COSLA, which wants each ward to be represented by three councillors per ward, reduced to two in areas of exceptional sparsity.