Aberdeen City Council freezes council tax for another year
A freeze in council tax was announced in Aberdeen City Council’s budget on 22 February, with Councillor Ian Yuill stating “People in bands E to H will already be hammered by an increase.”
The leader of the council’s Liberal Democrat group referred to the Scottish council tax changes which comes into place from April 2016, which will see those in tax band H forking out an extra £517 a year.
Overall, those in council tax bands E-H will pay between £2 and £10 more per week under the plans, with additional tax raised to be spent on education, according to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The council believes that an additional £5.9m will be raised from the council tax changes to bands E-H, as well as expecting additional tax income of £1.2 million, due to additional properties coming on to the charge.
The council freeze comes despite Aberdeen City Council facing a £17.2m deficit, following funding cuts by the Scottish government.
Aberdeenshire Council revealed its budget, including a 2.5% council tax increase, earlier in February.
The change will lead to those on band D paying £28.53 extra a year – while band E will jump £585.34 a year.
Local authorities were allowed to raise council tax by up to 3% for the first time in nine years following a council tax freeze.
Now, please do not accuse me of being cynical and world weary, but is this move really in the best interests of the City and the council tax payers? Is it a coincidence that Council elections are in May and our City Council is very evenly matched between the two main parties, allowing the minority parties great influence as power brokers?
Are we really prepared to suffer continuing degradation in services, just to avoid a modest attempt to ease the deficit?
I guess no one likes a tax hike, but, after several years of frozen rates, is now not the time to wean taxpayers off the no hike regime? Will we face a bigger rise, next year, to catch up? I think our council may have put electoral expediency before the best interests of the City.