The minority Labour administration on North Ayrshire Council (NAC) in setting a Budget for 2018/19 put forward a “financially illiterate” budget proposal to hit local residents with a 12.5% council tax hike.
NAC will receive a significant funding boost as a result of this year’s Scottish Budget, with local services benefiting from an additional £6,285,000. This extra funding for NAC means an increase in its grant from the SNP Government to a record £275,273,000 from April, plus £4,413,960 directly to North Ayrshire schools via the Pupil Equity Fund.
On top of that, councils across Scotland have the ability to raise council tax by 3% locally, decided in agreement with the SNP Government in January. However, in a display of “kamikaze grandstanding” the minority Labour Administration proposed tearing up that accord.
The SNP Group voted down Labour’s proposal, instead backing a modest 3% increase to invest in communities across North Ayrshire.
Commenting, Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“This sort of kamikaze grandstanding from Labour reflects terribly on them.
“Firstly, they fail to grasp the basics of the additional financial resources coming to North Ayrshire Council, based on what was agreed with the SNP Government last month.
“Secondly, they want to hammer hardworking families with a 12.5% hike in their council tax bills when any increase is capped at 3%. Their empty posturing is financially illiterate and reminds people of the days when Labour was in power at Holyrood and raised council tax in North Ayrshire by a thumping 75% between 1997 and 2007 and water and sewerage rates by a mind-boggling 592% over the same period. Such actions prompted the SNP Government when it came into office to introduce a council tax freeze which ran for nine years.
“Ploughing ahead with Labour’s nonsense would have meant even people in the lowest council tax Band A would have to pay £75.55 more than under SNP proposals, with people living in an average Band D home £112.90 more.
“Thankfully, strong opposition from SNP Councillors defeated Labour’s reckless proposal and served as a stark reminder of Labour’s incompetence when it comes to responsibly managing public finances.”