LAST week, council tax in East Lothian was increased by seven per cent.

This is higher than my party supported and is in no small part because of underfunding from the Scottish Government.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), a body representing all 32 Scottish local council areas, has repeatedly warned of the impact of SNP austerity on local council services.

It estimates £1 billion of real-term cuts to core revenue funding for councils this year.

These cuts have been made to councils while the Scottish Government has spent nearly £250 million on two ferries which are still unfit to sail, sitting at Ferguson Marine shipyard.

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These council cuts come while the Scottish Government pursues unpopular plans for a National Care Service.

This will cost up to £1.5 billion which could have been spent on social care workers, third-sector organisations and charities.

A National Care Service would take care decisions out of local communities and could force patients to travel across Scotland to receive social care.

The cuts also come despite the Scottish Government spending millions of pounds on independence referendum planning, white papers and court cases.

East Lothian also faces one of the largest council tax rises in the whole of Scotland while having the third-lowest funding grant in Scotland per head of population.

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It is wrong that our county faces such a significant increase in council tax while the population is growing. Make no mistake that Scottish Government cuts are adding pressure on our roads, GPs and schools.

The Scottish Government and Labour-run East Lothian Council need to think again, and the next SNP leader must deliver a fairer funding settlement for our councils.