SCHOOLS in Scotland's wealthiest areas are in line to receive the biggest funding boost from a reformed council tax that will still hit the poor harder than the rich, impartial research has found.

A study by Spice, the Scottish Parliament’s research department, shows that Nicola Sturgeon's plan to increase bills for the most expensive households - as part of moves to raise an estimated £100 million earmarked for schools - would make the system slightly fairer but remain "regressive".

Local Authorities in the most affluent areas would see proportionally more of the increased revenue due to the higher concentration of more expensive homes.

In East Renfrewshire, which has built a reputation for excellent state schools and has more than 55 per cent of homes in the top four bands, council tax income will rise by almost 10 per cent, with increases of more than seven per cent in Edinburgh, Stirling and East Dunbartonshire.

However, in council areas traditionally blighted by large pockets of deprivation, such as Glasgow, Dundee and North Lanarkshire, council tax receipts will rise by less than four per cent as fewer homes are affected by the changes

Outlining her long-awaited reforms earlier this month, the First Minister resisted calls to introduce radical changes to the council tax or scrap it entirely, saying she would leave the bottom four bands as they are and increase yearly bills by an average of £108 for a Band E property, rising to £517 for Band H.

A cross-party expert group set up by the Scottish Government found that a proportionate property tax would see those in the least expensive homes pay around half what they do currently, while those in the most expensive would pay 2.5 times more.

The Spice report said: “Some local authorities will receive a lot more additional income, either as a percentage or in absolute terms than others....It is not clear how the Government will ring-fence £100m of income from Council Tax for a specific purpose."

The Scottish Government yesterday did not reveal whether it would seek to redistribute cash fairly or explain how this could be achieved, only saying that further details would be revealed in “due course” following discussions with councils.

Glasgow’s City Treasurer, Labour councillor Philip Braat, said the report confirmed that a failure to significantly reform or replace the council tax would do far more to help Scotland’s healthiest and wealthiest communities than those in the most need.

Glasgow Council believes that the changes will see education budgets in relatively well-off areas with high proportions of privately educated pupils, such as Edinburgh, benefit by as much as £300 per pupil, compared to just £100 in Glasgow where far more rely on state schools.

Cllr Braat said: “A plan to fund local services that reinforces, rather than breaks down, the disadvantages experienced by people in our poorest neighbourhoods is a failure.

“And a plan to support education that means more help for a child brought up in a community where their friends are privately educated, than a child born into poverty is socialism in reverse.

“Ministers need to deliver on the Commission on Local Tax Reform and start devolving powers to communities that will let them respond to their own unique challenges.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said its reforms made the council tax fairer and that its proposals “have been described as ‘progressive’.”

She added: “An additional £100m a year will be invested in schools as a result – generating significant extra funding and ensuring additional support for children in low income households.

“The Commission on Local Tax Reform calculated that a proportionate council tax would see tax on Band H properties being 15 times that on Band A – five times the present Band H charge. We were not prepared to increase households’ tax bills in such an extreme way.

“Council tax reform is just one part of a wider local tax reform that includes the offer to local government of locally-assigned income tax, and the importance of this in substantially shifting how councils are funded.”