Broad support for council tax rise

Councillors have approved a response supporting a proposed council tax rise set to cost Angus residents £2.5m.
While supportive, councillors still raised concerns over some householders’ financial arrangements.While supportive, councillors still raised concerns over some householders’ financial arrangements.
While supportive, councillors still raised concerns over some householders’ financial arrangements.

The Scottish Government has suggested an increase of up to 22.5% for the highest tax band, with the rise only affecting properties in bands E to H.

Elected members approved a response to the plan at a recent meeting of the policy and resources committee.

The council’s response was broadly supportive of the rise, but did raise concerns about residents whose wealth is “tied up in property rather than income”.

Members were divided on the issue, acknowledging the need to bring in money to provide services while worrying about adding financial strain during a cost of living crisis.

Conservative councillor Derek Wann said: “It’s going to be unwelcome among most of our communities, this will affect 14% of the council tax payers in Angus who are on band E. We’ve already got increasing bills, I for one can’t support this increase.”

Angus has a slightly higher amount of properties in Band E than the Scottish average but a lower proportion in Bands F to H. Rates could rise up to 22.5%; rates for band E properties would increase by 7.5%, while band F properties would see a 12.5% rise.

Those in band G properties would pay an average of 17.5% more each year, while band H properties would see their bills rise by up to 22.5%. The eventual increase on the current annual charge would be Band E: £139, Band F: £288, Band G: £485, Band H: £781. If approved the increase will be phased in from 2024 onwards.

Council officials have warned that though the increase would ease some of the current financial pressures hitting the council, it would unlikely work as a long term solution.

Ian Lorimer, finance director, said: “The additional income which could be raised is significant, although I would say it’s not a solution to all of our financial challenges on its own."

However SNP councillor Kenny Braes was left underwhelmed by the proposal and consultation.

He said: “Whilst I’m deeply disappointed in the parameters of this consultation and would have preferred to see something much more radical regarding council tax and local government taxation, that’s no what’s in front of us.”

SNP councillor Bill Duff insisted the response put before councillors was the best course of action for the council, highlighting that individual members of council who disagree are able to submit their own personal response.

Mr Duff said: “While we all might have different views it’s open to any member to complete the consultation themselves and put their particular spin on it

“But I think it’s better to accept the response that the officers have prepared which I think is a politically neutral response and is probably appropriate for the council to submit.

“I’m certainly quite happy with what I’ve seen in front of me.”