MSP Joan McAlpine has hit out at the Labour administration’s ‘rank hypocrisy’ by criticising Council Tax rises after campaigning for years against the SNP's freeze.
The charge comes on the back of a press release where Leader Ronnie Nicholson says rate rises in higher band properties are ‘not their doing’ and they are only following Scottish Government orders.
Labour nationally wanted larger increases in Council Tax than the SNP and even argued for a domestic property revaluation along the lines of the one currently affecting business rates. This was rejected by the SNP.
Labour’s Council Tax plans would have seen a rise across the board – and was firmly rejected by voters last May.
The SNP government changes mean rates paid by those in Bands E, F, G and H will be adjusted, raising an extra £100 million. This will stay with the Councils where it is raised.
Ms McAlpine said:
“The local Labour administration really need to get their ducks in a row before they issue press releases trying to shift the blame – had Labour won the election in May we would have seen Council Tax rises across the board, not just in the higher tax brackets.
“The Council Tax reform is making the system fairer and more progressive. The majority of households across the region will pay the same or less - with those at the top paying a bit more to fund investment in local services.
“The reforms include additional support for those on low incomes – with low income families across all bands seeing an extension of the Council Tax reduction scheme saving the average family £173 per year.
“In the face of budgetary pressure from Westminster the Scottish Government’s is doing its best to protect public services, with last week’s budget allocating £5.1 million in funding for services across the region.”
The Labour administration embarrassed itself further when last week it indicated that was set to increase the Council Tax base when it sets its budget this Tuesday (28th).
Ms McAlpine said:
“Ronnie Nicholson has repeatedly bemoaned the Council Tax freeze, and it seems clear that the administration are set to raise the base level when they set their budget this week.
“Having a moan about the Scottish Government for increasing the rate for higher bands but then putting it up across the board – the hypocrisy is astounding.”