Wealthier suburb councils would gain more from higher band council tax hike plan

Martin Booth <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
Martin Booth (Image: Newsquest)

Plans to charge bigger increases on the higher council tax bands would benefit councils with wealthier suburbs more than Glasgow, MSPs have been told.

The Scottish Government plans to hike the tax for the highest bands while leaving the lower bands unchanged.

It would see the highest, Band H, paying an average of £781 a year more with a 22.5% rise applied from next year.

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Band G would go up by £485 or 17.5%, Band F by £288 or 12.5% and Band E by £139 or 7.5%.

The Local Government Committee at Holyrood discussed the plans with finance chiefs from Glasgow, Dundee and South Lanarkshire.

Willie Coffey, an SNP MSP on the committee, said the proposed council tax changes would give an extra £176m across Scotland’s 32 councils.

The cash, however, would not be distributed equally as some areas, like Glasgow, have fewer homes in the higher brackets.

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Martin Booth, executive director of finance for Glasgow City Council, said: “Council tax affecting bands E to H doesn’t fall equally across the country.

“In Glasgow, 83% of houses are band A to D and more than 10% of the remaining chunk are Band E

“So, our bands F to H are less than 7% of our total housing stock.”

He explained the situation affecting Scotland’s biggest local authority, adding: “So, it wouldn’t fall equally. In those higher bands, there is still a higher percentage of council tax reduction.

“While we would absolutely support more money for local government there needs to be care taken that this is in a way that benefits everybody in society and not just the wealthier suburbs.”

Glasgow has only around 600 homes in Band H which would raise less than half a million pounds.

There are around 50,000 homes in the city that would be affected by the changes and the total raised could be around £10m in Glasgow.

In the last decade, the council has seen half a billion wiped from its budget in cuts.

Last year Glasgow faced spending cuts of £50m and will face pressure again next year with wage increases and inflation.

While the council tax changes could bring in £176m for Scotland’s councils the pay deal is expected to cost an extra £440m.