A radical reform of local government funding will boost education spending in Dumfries and Galloway, Joan McAlpine MSP has said.
South Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the Scottish Government’s plans for ambitious Council Tax reform – which will see those in the highest bands pay more, and the money raised invested in education in Dumfries & Galloway.
The planned reforms include additional support for those on low incomes including pensioners – with low income families across all bands seeing an extension of the Council Tax reduction scheme saving the average family £173 per year.
Dumfries and Galloway will also get the chance to keep a chunk of the income tax raised in the region. The SNP, if elected in May, will consult on assigning a portion of the income tax raised – making councils more accountable to local people.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that rates paid by those in Bands E, F, G and H will be adjusted, raising an extra £100 million to be invested in education.
The proposal to devolve a portion of income tax will reduce local authorities’ reliance on funding from central government. It is estimated that when the planned changes take effect, 75 per cent of local government funding will be locally grounded.
Ms McAlpine said:
“Reforming the Council Tax this way will make the system fairer, more progressive and locally empowering.
“Most households in Dumfries & Galloway will pay the same or less, while those at the top will pay a bit more to fund major new investment in our local education services.”
There will also be additional support for low income families living in higher band properties, who will be entitled to an exemption from the changes through the Council Tax Reduction Scheme. More than one third of these are pensioner households.
Ms McAlpine added:
“While Labour and the Tories are planning to hike taxes across the board, hurting those on low-incomes, the SNP are taking a fairer approach by asking those at the top to pay a bit more, while providing additional financial relief to low income families.
“The move to consult with Councils on assigning a portion of devolved income tax is also to be welcomed – not only will this incentivise the Council to support economic growth, but it will also ensure they are more accountable to local people.
“These plans protect the majority of household incomes in Dumfries & Galloway, support investment in local schools and make local taxation both fairer and more accountable. These are proposals I will be proud to campaign on – and I hope opposition politicians will join me in backing these fair, progressive reforms.”