Scottish Government’s council tax freeze costing Aberdeen £5million – Labour


THE SCOTTISH Government’s decision to freeze council tax will cost Aberdeen more than £5million, according to the city’s Labour leader M Tauqeer Malik.

SNP Finance Secretary Shona Robison confirmed the freeze during her budget yesterday, after it was first announced at the SNP’s conference in Aberdeen in October.

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Robison claims it will be “fully funded” with more than £140m going to local authorities to fund the policy.

But Malik, who is also contesting Stephen Flynn’s Westminster seat next year, says the funds will only add £5m to the council coffers, not covering a proposed 8% rise that could bring in around £11m.

He tells the Press & Journal: “Aberdeen is being let down by the SNP.

“A 5% increase in our grant will not fully fund the council tax promised by the First Minister in his SNP leaders’ speech in Aberdeen.

“Once again, the SNP say one thing in public then do exactly the opposite when it comes to budget time.”

Council leader defends decision

The co-leader of the administration, Christian Allard, has defended his party’s decision, though admits it will be a “challenge” for councils across the country to avoid cuts to balance the books.

Allard, himself a former MSP, said the move was necessary to support families during the cost-of-living crisis.

He noted the fact that council bosses decided to increase rent for council homes in the city by just shy of 5% (4.7%) as a consequence of inflation.

Cosla to hold talks

Scotland’s national body for council’s, Cosla, are preparing for crunch talks with councillors today.

A spokesperson said: “Cosla officers are currently working through the detail of the figures, in order that a briefing can be prepared for leaders, who will give it full consideration on Thursday morning at a special meeting.”

Other authorities in Scotland have spoken out following the announcement, including the leader of Aberdeenshire Council Gillian Owen. 

She said: “In light of the council tax freeze, my primary concern is the viability of local services for communities and as usual the devil will be in the detail.

“It will take time to scrutinise and understand the detail of what has been set out today.”

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