ANAS Sarwar and Nicola Sturgeon clashed over cuts to council budgets in Holyrood.

On the day Deputy First Minister John Swinney set out the Budget at stage one in Parliament the Scottish Labour leader accused the SNP of years of underfunding local councils.

He said councils have suffered cuts of £6 billion in the last 10 years, a figure the SNP leader rejected.

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Glasgow City Council is due to set its budget later this month with a shortfall of at least £67 million reported by officials.

Sarwar said: “For the past 15 years, the Scottish Government has short-changed local councils.

“It did not matter whether the Scottish Government’s Budget went up or down; local authorities had their budgets cut. Now, they are at financial breaking point.”

The First Minister said that there was more money proposed in the Budget for councils.

She said: “We are proposing an increase in the resources available to local government of more than £570 million. That is a real-terms increase of £160m.”

Cosla, however, has said the increase is far less and has warned of thousands of job losses as a result of budget shortfalls across the country, and council tax is elected to rise.

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Sarwar added: “The public are being asked to foot the bill for public services that are getting worse by the week because the Scottish Government has underfunded councils for 15 years.”

He asked the First Minister: “Why are people across Scotland being asked to pay more for less?”

Sturgeon however said that the Scottish Government had finite resources and challenged the Labour leader to tell her where the extra cash would come from.

She said: “We have put forward a balanced Budget. We have allocated all the resources that we have at our disposal.

“Within that Budget, we are increasing local government resources by more than £0.5bn.

“If Anas Sarwar is saying that he thinks that local government should get more money than that, let him bring forward that proposal but also tell us because there is no unallocated pot of cash where we should take the extra money from.

She asked the Labour leader should the money be taken from the National Health Service, or the police or the education budget.

 Sturgeon added: “If Anas Sarwar is standing here arguing for a bigger increase for local government, which is legitimate and which he has a right to do, if he wants to be taken seriously, he must also say where that money should come from.”