Borderers facing 3% council tax rise

Scottish Borders Council's headquarters in Newtown.
Scottish Borders Council's headquarters in Newtown.

Councillors in the Borders are due to vote on imposing another 3% council tax rise next Thursday, December 20.

If approved, the increase will be the third time in a row that Borders taxpayers have seen their council tax rise following the end of a nine-year freeze ordered by the Scottish Government.

Officers estimate the 3% increase, the highest the local authority is able to set, will net the council an extra £1.8m.

A report set to go before councillors next week explains: “Council tax funds around 20% of local government net revenue expenditure in the Scottish Borders, the remainder coming from government in the form of direct revenue support grant.

“Council tax in the Scottish Borders is the sixth lowest in mainland Scotland and ninth lowest overall once the island councils are included.

“Council tax is a tax on domestic property. All domestic properties are banded based on their valuation at the 1991 levels. Any new properties are also assessed on estimated values from 1991 and allocated to one of the eight property bandings, from A to H.”

Due to the nine-year council tax freeze implemented by the Holyrood government, Scottish councils have been playing catch-up with their English counterparts as far as bumping up their bills goes.

Borderers are still paying an average of £508 less in council tax annually than their  counterparts south of the English border in Northumberland.

In Coldstream, for example, residents living in band-D properties can expect to pay £593 less than those in similar properties in Cornhill-on-Tweed, less than a mile away.

Now, if the proposed rise is approved, occupants of band-D properties in the Borders will be asked to pay out an extra £34.50 a year, up from £1,150 to £1,184.50, although the majority of properties in the region fall into bands A to C, accounting for 36,203 out of the total of 58,253 domestic properties here.