An alliance of Labour and Tory councillors handed the SNP administration a rare defeat as tensions were stoked ahead of the forthcoming budget.

Labour had called a special meeting of North Ayrshire Council on Wednesday, venting their concerns about a real terms cut in funding for local services and job losses.

And they put forward a motion, proposed by Councillor Robert Foster and seconded by Cllr Nairn McDonald, which was supported by the Tories after they tweaked it.

It highlighted their concerns about the presentation of “the supposed” £550 million additional funding and suggested a real terms cut in funding for vital local services. They also called for the council to write to the First and Deputy First Ministers, underlining the impact the budget settlement would have on local services and said jobs had to be defended.

The motion supported the COSLA calls for a better settlement and that there should be an assessment of likely job losses within the council and local economy and a meeting should be organised between group leaders with the local government trade unions. They also asked any budget proposals be assessed thoroughly and that once the budget had been set the council would work collaboratively to lessen any negative impacts.

Proposing the joint Labour-Tory motion, Councillor Robert Foster said: “This council has lost more than £100m, it could and should have been spent on providing secure employment for local people and high quality services for people in North Ayrshire. 

“Instead we face cut after cut. Pushing through £10m of cuts will cost people their jobs, damage support services for the vulnerable and drive up poverty and inequality.”

Tory Todd Ferguson said: “The Scottish Government underspend was £2 billion last year alone. That could have been allocated to councils who were struggling in light of decades of continuing SNP cuts to local authority budgets.”

SNP cabinet member Tony Gurney put forward a motion calling for a letter to be written to the Deputy First Minister seeking a special meeting of council leaders to hear their concerns first hand.

He said: “We did not get our budget settlement until late in the day –  not because of any delay in Holyrood but because Westminster was thrown into chaos by the disastrous Autumn Budget of Tory Prime Minister Liz Truss and the subsequent delay in confirming the reduced Budget for the devolved Scottish Government.”

The Labour-Tory motion was passed by 18 votes to seven.

Later, Councillor McDonald said: “We were forced to call this special council meeting after this appalling budget settlement was met by a wall of silence from the ruling SNP administration.

“If as a councillor, you can’t take a stand against £10m of cuts to jobs and local services then why did you stand for election in the first place?

“Unless we have a sustained fight to defend local services then we will have nothing left over the next few years,”

Councillor Gurney said: “As ever, Councillor McDonald, either through ignorance or design, has mischaracterised the budget process and the administration’s position. We have huge concerns over funding and have already joined with all 32 councils in COSLA in asking to meet with the finance secretary to discuss our concerns.

“Forcing a special council meeting where they join forces with the Tory party to pretend that the administration is being forced into doing something that has already happened may generate headlines for his party, but it adds absolutely nothing to the debate.”