COUNCIL leaders have warned that authorities still face “real terms budget pressures” of more than £250 million despite Kate Forbes finding an extra £120 million in next year’s settlement.

The Finance Secretary told MSPs on Thursday that additional funding from the UK Government will result in £120 million being added to local council’s funding deal in the 2022/23 budget.

Ms Forbes said that “councils will have complete flexibility to allocate that additional funding as they wish next year”.

She added: “That will allow them to deal with the most pressing issues that they face, at a time when people are understandably worried about the cost of living.

“That increase in funding would be equivalent to a 4 per cent increase in council tax next year so, although councils have full flexibility in setting local council tax rates, I do not believe that there is a requirement for any inflation-busting increases next year.”

READ MORE: Kate Forbes finds £120m for councils to help keep tax rises down

Ms Forbes said the money would also help councils with a £70 million increase in their employers’ national insurance bill from April under UK Government plans to fund heath and care spending.

Cosla, the umbrella organisation for Scottish councils met with Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday to voice their concern about their draft settlement and remain concerned about the existing £250 million funding gap and future budget pressures if the additional £120 million does not make up the starting point for the follow year’s budget.

Council leaders met today to discuss the additional £120 million from the Scottish Government.

Cosla resources spokesperson, Gail Macgregor, said: “This year, our council leaders have lobbied with a strong united voice on the budget, and this cross party unity has resulted in a further £120 million for 2022/23.

READ MORE: Kate Forbes insists SNP 'treating councils fairly'

“We had a positive meeting with the First Minister on Wednesday and we are pleased that she has listened to our united local government voice.”

She added: “The further £120 million is good for local government – however it was flagged at the meeting with the First Minister that councils continue to face a £251 million real terms cut which will increase again in 2023/24 by a further £120 million if this one-off funding for 2022/23 is not baselined within the local government settlement.

“This must be addressed as part of the forthcoming spending review.

“Leaders therefore called on Cosla to begin lobbying immediately for this £120 million to be baselined for future years, and to continue to lobby for Scottish Government to recognise and address the real terms budget pressures faced by local government.”