14 January 2016

Tories' 18% Moray Council Tax Hike a Warning to North-East

Plans by the Conservatives and Independents on Moray Council to massively increase the Council Tax rate by 18% are a warning to residents in Aberdeenshire and other council areas what to expect if the Tories are ever in a position of power again locally.

Commenting on the extraordinary announcement, Stewart Stevenson said:

“In a week when Royal Mail are delivering a leaflet from the Tories telling people that a vote for them is a vote against tax rises, we have the evidence right here in the North-east that Tory councillors are falling over themselves to inflict a punishing 18% council tax rise on the public.

“The council tax freeze introduced when the SNP formed the Scottish Government in 2007 has been a real lifeline to local families in these times of austerity and pay freezes. Prior to that, council tax rates had increased year-on-year to the extent that people were paying nearly double what they were in 1996.

“Finance Secretary John Swinney has had to deal with a massive cut in the Scottish Government’s budget which is handed down from Westminster, but nevertheless put measures in place that the council tax freeze could continue in order to support families. The Tories and their Independent colleagues are now undoing all the good work which was done to protect people in this time of austerity.”

Mr Stevenson has tabled a Motion in Parliament condemning the move.

The SNP Opposition Group in Moray Council have also slammed the Independent/Tory Administration’s plans to hike Council Tax by 18%.

SNP Opposition Group Leader, Cllr Gary Coull, added:

© The Moray Council
"Once again we are seeing this Independent/Tory Administration getting Moray in the national headlines for all the wrong reasons.

"This is a massive hike being proposed by the Independents and Tories and will really hit the pockets of Moray people who are already facing high living costs combined with frozen wages.

"It is even more galling that a rise is supported by the Tories and Labour in Moray. Something which has, no doubt, encouraged the Administration to come forward with this ridiculous hike. The Tories want a low tax economy nationally but obviously don't care about the level of local taxation.

"Group leaders in Moray met yesterday to have, in the words of the Council’s Convener an ‘open and transparent discussion’ on the budget and absolutely no mention of this hike was made. With this Council Tax announcement less than 24 hours later the Administration clearly have no intention of working with us to tackle this budget issue, which is extremely disappointing.

"The Council Tax freeze has saved families over 1,500 pounds and has been welcomed by local people. A survey in Highland showed that 62% of people would reject an increase and I have no doubt Moray would produce similar results.

"It really is unbelievable to see this administration proposing such a blow to Moray people's pockets while they continue to peddle vanity projects such as the Western Link Road in Elgin."

Stewart Stevenson
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