Scottish Government warned against council tax hikes impacting poorest

Scottish Labour claim the shift could impact some of the poorest already in the highest bandings.

Scottish Labour have warned ministers not to hike council taxes on the highest bands, claiming such a move could impact the poorest in the country.

A consultation document published last month suggested the Scottish Government and local authority body Cosla were preparing to increase council tax on properties in band E or higher on a sliding scale rising from 7.5% to 22.5%.

The move would mirror a similar initiative in 2017.

But Scottish Labour local government spokesman Mark Griffin claimed the shift could hit some of the poorest in the country in properties already in the highest bands.

The party said 108,200 households in the poorest 30% of Scotland live in band E or above properties, while just 23,060 of these households received a council tax reduction, leaving between 80,000 and 85,000 vulnerable to the increase.

Mr Griffin said: “The SNP’s council tax bombshell is a tax rise on 80,000 of the poorest households during a cost-of-living crisis – it is an attack on working people that would make Rishi Sunak proud.

“Years of brutal cuts by the SNP have left local councils at breaking point, and now the government wants to plug the gaps with eye-watering council tax hikes on some of the poorest Scots while many wealthy families would pay nothing.

“It is a scandal that the Scots earning the least are once again being asked to pay more while getting less in return.

“Families struggling with rising housing costs should be getting support from their government – but instead they are being asked to foot the bill for the SNP’s failure.

“Labour will stand up for people struggling with soaring living costs and fight for a fair deal for working people.”

The consultation is due to close on September 20.

Public finance minister Tom Arthur said: “We have listened to calls for the council tax system to be made fairer.

“The potential changes would only affect around a quarter of properties and even after they are taken into account, average council tax in Scotland would still be less than anywhere else in the UK.

“We know that many people are struggling with their finances and our council tax reduction scheme is there to ensure nobody has to pay a council tax bill they cannot be expected to afford, regardless of what band they are in.

“I would encourage anyone who has views on these proposals to complete our consultation before it closes on September 20 to help us determine if they should be taken forward.”

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