3% rise in Council Tax is confirmed in budget proposals

Council Tax payers in the Scottish Borders are facing a below-inflation rise in the levy of three per cent for the next financial year, it has been revealed.

By Paul Kelly
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 9:53 am
Council leader Mark Rowley.
Council leader Mark Rowley.

In the context of a rising cost in living and a huge hike in energy prices this spring the increase could be seen as a small mercy.

However, it comes after a freeze in Council Tax in 2021/22, enabled by £90m compensation payments provided nationally to councils by Scottish Government at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Members of Scottish Borders Council will be informed of the ruling administration’s proposal for a three per cent hike – compared to inflation which is running at more than five per cent – when they meet via video-link on Tuesday, February 22.

The rise would mean an annual bill from April 1, 2022 for a band D property of £1,330.27, an increase of £38.75.

The budget for 2022/23 has been shaped following a consultation process which resulted in feedback from 760 people.

A report to the full council highlights the administration’s priorities, including a ten-year investment to improve roads, bridges and pavements with expenditure of £95.1m.

Proposals include funding for mobile CCTV in a bid to cut crime across the region and an extra £2.9m to pay for additional teachers and support staff in schools.

The administration has identified £8.1m in savings while pledging to make a priority of supporting and protecting frontline services.

Council leader Mark Rowley said: “You have told us what your priorities are and with every bit of flexibility we have in our constrained budgets we’ve done what we can to find ways to address these priorities.

“There is a limit to what we can do though, and with a challenging financial settlement from the Scottish Government we’ve had to increase Council Tax to help bridge the funding gap.

“A three per cent Council Tax increase is below inflation and whilst we acknowledge this is another impact on household budgets, it genuinely is the only way that we could avoid damaging cuts to services which go against the feedback we’ve been receiving. Our Council Tax will still be one of the lowest in mainland Scotland.”

If agreed the charges for the band properties A to H for 2022/23 would be as follows, A: (£886.85); B: (£1,034.66); C: (£1,182.46); D: (£1,330.27); E: (£1,747.83); F: (£2,161.69); G: (£2,605.); H: (£3,259.16).