JOHN Swinney will tomorrow freeze council tax bills for a ninth successive year as he sets out his final budget before the Holyrood election.

Sources indicated the Finance Secretary will also turn down the chance to use new Holyrood powers to increase income tax in Scotland, despite calls from Labour for an "anti-austerity budget".

With the Holyrood election only five months away, Mr Swinney is expected to woo voters with a substantial increase in spending on the NHS.

Spending plans for 2016/17 will be unveiled against a background of deep cuts to the Scottish Government's budget over the next four years.

In a budget analysis out today, a leading think tanks warns the least well off face a "double whammy" of benefit cuts and cuts to public services, which would require steep tax hikes to reverse.

However, Mr Swinney will resist the temptation to let cash-strapped councils raise extra revenue when he extends the council tax freeze for a ninth year running.

He had pledged to peg bills for the lifetime of the current parliament but his move tomorrow will prolong the freeze for 11 months after the election.

It comes after a government-backed cross party commission yesterday warned the council tax freeze "cannot go on forever".

The Commission on Local Tax said the present system "must end" and recommended that local services be funded by a mix of taxes on property and income.

Scotland's largest council, Glasgow, is bracing itself for a £74million cut when local authority spending allocations are announced alongside the budget.

Mr Swinney will also reject the chance to raise extra revenue by increasing income tax.

From April, the Scottish Government will become responsible for raising about half the income tax paid in Scotland but will not be able to vary rates and bands, allowing Mr Swinney to argue the powers cannot be used progressively.

Holyrood is due to gain almost complete control over income tax from April 2017.

Mr Swinney will give an indication of how he plans to use the fuller income tax powers in future years but sources stressed he will not deliver a detailed multi-year spending review owing to continued uncertainty over the financial deal that will underpin the Scotland Bill.

However, the Finance Secretary is understood is considering raising some additional revenue by altering the new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, the replacement for Stamp Duty he introduced in April, to target large-scale property investors.

Houses purchases made for large rental portfolios would incur increased LBTT as a result of the plan, which follows Chancellor George Osborne's Budget decision to increase Stamp Duty on second homes and buy-to-let investments.

Mr Swinney will demonstrate the SNP's commitment to the NHS ahead of next May's election by increasing health spending by more than the £250million windfall he has received from the Treasury as a result of budget decisions in England.

The budget will be accompanied by a new infrastructure investment plan, outlining big ticket building projects, after the completion of the new Forth crossing.

IPPR Scotland, the economic and social think tank, warns today that Scots on benefits will be £800 per year worse off by 2020 as a result of UK Government welfare cuts.

Reversing the £500million total welfare cut would require a 1p income tax rise, the think said.

In addition, areas which the Scottish Government has not promised to protect - including council funding - face a £1.5billion cut by 2020.

IPPR Scotland director Russel Gunson said: "It is clear that the UK’s spending cuts will bring serious cuts to Scotland. "How these cuts are reduced in Scotland or where they are passed on will require some incredibly difficult choices not just this year, but over the whole of the next parliament."

Scottish Labour's public services spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said Mr Swinney should present "a long-term, anti-austerity budget".

"Telling us about pre-election giveaways now and cuts later isn’t good enough.

"This needs to be a long term budget that sets out how public services and the vulnerable can be protected," she said.