'Any talk of spending cuts is totally misleading. Most of the new local authorities will be able to increase their spending next year by more than three per cent following the introduction of new capping levels by the secretary of state last November.
'Those who claim that 'cuts' of £395m will have to be made actually mean that they believe councils should be allowed to increase their spending by on average nearly 10% which is almost four times the level of inflation expected next year.
'An extra £395m of council spending would add around £240 or 40% to the average band D council tax bill.
'We decided reluctantly to retain capping as we want to devolve greater power to local authorities. It was claimed that the removal of capping would make little difference to spending levels or council tax levels. But it is now clear that Scottish local authorities cannot be trusted to act responsibly and that capping is essential to protect council taxpayers from their worst excesses.'