Fife Council leader ‘astonished’ by SNP council tax reforms

The SNP's proposals to reform council tax have not impressed Councillor Ross.
The SNP's proposals to reform council tax have not impressed Councillor Ross.

Fife Council leader David Ross says the SNP Government’s proposals to reform council tax will lead to further cuts in local services.

The Government says its proposals will make the system fairer, with the rates paid by those in the highest four council tax bands being adjusted in a move that will generate £100m.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said this additional revenue would be invested in schools across Scotland.

But Cllr Ross said: “I’m absolutely astonished and extremely disappointed that this is the best they could come up with.

“Nicola Sturgeon is on record in 2010 saying: ‘The fact of the matter is that Council Tax is unfair and cannot be improved by tinkering around the edges.’ This is exactly what she is now proposing.”

He added the commission on local tax reform set up by the Scottish Government concluded: “The present Council Tax has therefore rightly become discredited in the eyes of the public ... it was made clear to us that people expect a change.”

Cllr Ross continued: “After years of being told how unfair the council tax is, what is the SNP’s alternative? Council tax! You couldn’t make it up.

“The effect of this will be to condemn Fife and the rest of Scotland to further cuts in local services and local jobs.

“Councils will graciously be given permission to raise council tax after the nine year freeze by up to three per cent only. In Fife, this would bring in about £4m which wouldn’t go far towards closing the £30m plus budget gap we face in 2017/18.”

Under the SNP proposal, the average band E household will pay around £2 per week more and the average household in the highest band will pay around £10 a week more.

The 75 per cent of Scottish households that live in properties in bands A to D will be unaffected by the proposed change to the council tax system.