Council tax battle looms

A Galloway MSP fears that a rise in the council for over 17,000 properties in Dumfries and Galloway under Scottish Government proposals will hit hard working families.

Properties in Council tax bands E-H will be affected, with the changes set to raise an extra £2.4 million in the region.

Conservative MSP Finlay Carson has criticised the SNP-led administration for taking powers away from local communities.

He said: “While this seems like a great earner for local authorities, the Scottish Government will claw this money back by cutting the grant they currently provide to councils in a cash-grab to pay for their ‘educational attainment fund’.

“This means that money raised in Dumfries and Galloway could be spent in places like Glasgow, leaving communities paying extra money but not reaping the benefits. Although I support the establishment of an educational attainment fund, I do not support these centralist proposals that the SNP Scottish Government want to introduce. Money raised by local households should be spent on local services; instead the SNP government is taking this power away and denying locally elected councillors a say on where the extra money could be better spent. This is yet another example of this SNP Scottish Government taking powers away from local communities and depriving our rural economy of millions of pounds. I can assure my constituents that when these proposals come before the Scottish Parliament I will not be supporting them”.

SNP MSP Emma Harper hit back, saying: “This is complete hypocrisy from the Tories who a few months ago were boasting that our council tax reforms followed their recommendations – they obviously think they can say one thing nationally and another thing locally. If Finlay Carson really does support an Educational Attainment Fund, as he say he does, maybe he’ll come up with a better way of funding it? Under our proposal local authorities will keep every penny of the council tax that is raised in their areas and there will be no change for three out of four Scottish households in terms of how much council tax they pay.”

“It’s high time people in this region heard a positive proposal from Mr Carson – on anything at all frankly.”