A local authority yesterday became the first in four years in Scotland to cut its council tax.

Stirling Council agreed to the 1% cut which takes the average band D levy down from £1209 to £1197.

The decision to shave £12 a year off the average household bill was taken as councillors passed the 2012-13 budget at their second attempt.

Labour and Tory councillors voted the measure through in an "alternative" budget, after rejecting the minority SNP administration's proposals.

It will mean the majority of households in the area will see a weekly saving of 23p.

The SNP group called the cut "fiscally imprudent" and "irresponsible", while the LibDem group leader said it was a "cynical" vote-grabber ahead of the council elections on May 3.

The Herald understands the "corridor deal" to knock down the SNP's budget will cost Stirling £450,000. However, the Tories and Labour believe this can be shored up with a deal to sell land to Waitrose.

But it has led to a flood of criticism from the trade union movement, which has opposed the council tax freeze as they see it as an added financial burden on local authorities trying to balance the books.

Unison said it puts Stirling's commitment to a living wage of £7.20-per-hour in jeopardy.

Dave Moxham, the STUC's assistant secretary, said: "Council services are under severe pressure without crackpot ideas like this. Proposals like this can only serve to reduce services and increase charges. We'd criticise any party which cuts council tax when services are under so much strain."

Unison's Scottish convenor Mike Kirby said: "The big disappointment for Unison is this no longer guarantees that the council will implement the living wage promised to the unions. It also means the council appears to be shoring up revenue spending through capital receipts, a dangerous road to go down."

Alex McLuckie, senior officer at GMB Scotland, said: "This is another weird decision by Stirling which goes against the grain of current thinking. And it looks a lot like electioneering for both Labour and the Tories.

"But we'll be wanting assurances that this budget will not impact on frontline services which are already at breaking point and the job security of our members. The taxpayers of Stirling will also want to know they will not suffer a cut in services."

Stirling Council's first meeting to agree a budget last week ended in near chaos as Labour councillors, supported by the Tories, voted against their own amendment after accusing the SNP of "stealing" their alternative budget.

When councillors reconvened for a second time, an amendment proposed by Labour, and supported by the Conservatives, again set out an "alternative" budget, which won by a single vote, meaning the opposition's plans are effectively Stirling Council's budget for 2012/13.

Scott Farmer, who proposed the SNP's budget, said his group had made "repeated approaches" to Labour group leader Corrie McChord in an attempt to reach a consensus over the budget.

He said: "Mr McChord could not bring himself to sign up to anything proposed by the SNP.

"Selling whatever principles he ever had to jump into bed with the Tories – what an insult to his party."

Mr Farmer said it was "not the time" to be cutting council tax.

But the Labour group leader called Mr Farmer's argument "bunkum" and rejected claims that the party's amendment was "imprudent".

Mr McChord said: "In the last two or three years we have supported cuts in council tax because it had grown more than in other areas of Scotland."

Tory group leader Alistair Berrill claimed the SNP had previously relied on their support. He said: "They were quite happy the last three budgets to accept our support. There was no talking about jumping into bed with the devil then."