Gala to host ‘conversation’ about future of local tax

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Borderers will have the opportunity to have their say on the future funding of local government services at a public event next month.

It will be held in the Volunteer Hall, Galashiels, on the evening of Monday, September 14.

Organised by the Commission on Local Tax Reform, the meeting is aimed at people from across the region with views on what should replace Council Tax.

“We’re inviting people to join in the conversation,” said Councillor David O’Neill, joint chair of the independent commission which was set up last year by the Scottish Government.

Although Council Tax, which replaced the Community Charge (Poll Tax) in 1993, has been frozen for the past eight years, Mr O’Neill, who is leader of North Ayrshire Council, believes it is “widely acknowledged as unfair”.

“Our task as a commission is to explore and understand a range of alternatives,” he explained.

Despite the freeze, which has saved local Band D householders £1,150, Council Tax receipts to Scottish Borders Council will total around £55million this year – accounting for about 20% of all revenue spending at Newtown.

“We will complete our work this autumn so our findings will be available to all political parties as they prepare their manifestos for the Scottish Parliament elections in May next year,” said Mr O’Neill.

“A key part of our report will set out what the public has told us, so we now want to hear what you think might and might not be a fairer way of raising the money currently collected from Council Tax.

“This is your chance to help shape the future of local taxation in Scotland.”

The Galashiels meeting, which will be the only public event of its kind in the Borders, starts at 7pm and is expected to last two-and-a-half hours.

Although open to the public, entry is by pre-registration only.

To book a place, register online at or by email to or by calling 0131 474 9332.