SOME of Scotland’s biggest councils have issued First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with threats of court action over claims of imposed multi-million pound cuts.

In a clear declaration of war by the country’s main Labour authorities, the Government faces being served with a judicial writ within the next fortnight over its position on excluding the rebel councils from formal talks on the financing local government.

Glasgow, Aberdeen, South Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire, all of which broke away from Cosla, Scotland’s main local government body, over funding from Holyrood, said they had sought legal opinion and would take the matter to the Court of Session unless ministers changed their stance on negotiating with the four councils.

The Government has said that while it is required by law to have dialogue with councils it will only negotiate with Cosla on council funding, including cash for health or education.

Senior SNP sources have also accused the authorities on wasting public cash on “pointless legal action” instead of frontline services.

Claiming that while it would be “unseemly to drag this matter through the courts”, Jenny Laing, leader of Aberdeen City Council, accused the First Minister of bypassing a quarter of Scotland’s population on core public services and imposing cuts without discussion.

In a letter to Ms Sturgeon, Ms Laing also suggested the First Minister was guilty of post-Brexit political grandstanding at the expense of the residents of the four areas, adding that her Glasgow’s Southside was “seriously affected by your Government’s position”.

Mark Macmillan, leader of Renfrewshire Council, said: “The Government’s talks on the next funding settlement have already begun without us and in these we expect some of the biggest budget cuts ever seen.

“If she maintains her current plan to pass down these cuts without one single meaningful conversation, she is effectively turning her back on 25 per cent of the population, including those in her own constituency.

“This is why we have sought independent legal advice and after careful consideration we have grounds to serve the First Minister and her Government with a judicial review writ at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.”

But one senior SNP source said: “If these council leaders really want to have a genuine dialogue this is a very odd way to go about it.

“These should be focusing their attention on protecting frontline services instead of threatening to use public money on pointless legal action.”

When the four councils broke away in 2014 to form the Scottish Local Government Partnership, Ms Laing argued the new group would have the freedom to negotiate a better deal on funding for council tax payers.

But since then, councils have been hit with around £500m in cuts, the harshest financial settlement in a generation, while a row erupted earlier this year when former minister Alex Neil made it clear the Government would only deal with Cosla on major finance issues.

In her letter, Ms Laing said: “The Scottish Government gathers more power from Westminster but will not even discuss with the Partnership, which includes two of Scotland’s three biggest cities, the fundamental bread and butter issues which matter to the lives of ordinary people.

“Your Government’s intransigence is unacceptable and therefore we will seriously consider this (judicial review) option...if we do not receive a satisfactory response.”

A Government spokesman said: “We will only negotiate on the final settlement with Cosla, the representative body for Scotland’s local authorities. However, we have a statutory responsibility to consult all 32 councils on the terms of the local government finance settlement.”