FUNDING cuts in Inverclyde are among the most severe in Scotland - with over 10 per cent wiped from the budget according to public spending watchdogs.

The Accounts Commission say the area has been one of the hardest hit in the country over the last six years.

In a new report, the independent scrutiny body revealed that Inverclyde Council has been faced with a 'higher than average' 10.3 per cent spending cut from the Scottish Government since 2013.

The area is the seventh-worst affected district out of the country's 32 local authorities.

The new report said: "Some of the councils with high levels of deprivation, including Inverclyde, Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire, have seen higher than average reductions to their core budgets."

It comes after Municipal Buildings chiefs warned of more cuts to jobs and services to plug an estimated £16m funding shortfall in the next three years.

Three weeks ago, councillors approved a £7m savings package, including the loss of almost 60 full-time posts over 24 months to help balance the books.

Council leader Stephen McCabe said: "The report from the Accounts Commission provides further independent confirmation of the extent of Scottish Government cuts to council funding in general and Inverclyde in particular. "It also highlights that councils with high levels of deprivation like Inverclyde have suffered disproportionately from these cuts, as the formula used to calculate each council's share of overall funding does not take sufficient account of deprivation.

"The real problem however is the size of the cake. "If we want quality local public services these need to be properly funded from progressive national and local taxes."

Mr McCabe says the situation could get even worse, with the financial forecast for the immediate future looking bleak.

The Accounts Commission report - produced in partnership with Audit Scotland - also warned of further swingeing budget cuts in the coming years, adding that councils must continue 'working hard' to 'maintain and improve services'.

Cllr McCabe has pleaded with ministers in Edinburgh and London for extra cash to ease the pressure.

He told the Tele: "The report provides independent confirmation of the gloomy outlook for local services, with our council alone facing nearly £16m of further cuts over the next three years. "We need a change of direction from the Scottish and UK governments and an end to austerity."