Shona Robison insists councils are not being punished for raising tax

The deputy first minister said it is not unreasonable to expect council tax payers to benefit from new funding.

Shona Robison insists Scottish Government isn’t punishing councils for raising tax PA Media

Funding arrangements for local councils are not about punishing those who do not freeze the council tax, deputy first minister Shona Robison has said.

Last week extra funding of £62.7m for local authorities was announced, but only for those who implement the council tax freeze.

It comes after Argyll and Bute Council decided to put up council tax by 10%, going against the Scottish Government’s wishes.

Scotland’s 32 local authorities have already been offered £147m as compensation for freezing council tax.

On the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme on Monday, it was suggested to Robison that her policy was about punishing councils who did not go along with the freeze.

She said: “This isn’t about punishing councils. It’s about recognising that taking together the funding that we’re providing – the additional funding – is nearly £210m.

“So I don’t think it’s unreasonable that council taxpayers see some of the benefits of that.

“And we believe that at a time when rising prices are putting significant strain on household finances, the council tax freeze gives some support to households over the coming year.”

Robison said local government is getting a larger share of the Scottish Government’s overall budget, rising from 31% to 32%.

She said those on the lowest incomes would benefit the most from the freeze.

It was put to Robison that John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group, had said the council tax freeze would make “little difference” for poorer households.

The deputy first minister, who is also Scotland’s Finance Secretary, said council tax represented a larger proportion of the income of households which did not benefit from council tax reduction.

She said: “I’m talking about those who are not entitled to council tax reduction but who are on lower incomes, they pay a larger proportion of their income on council tax than those who are better off.”

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