Council tax hike set to bite

Borderers can expect a 3% hike in their council tax bills next year, following a nine-year freeze.

Scottish Borders Council’s administration will propose a 3% increase in February, which will raise £1.5million towards the cost of funding council services and would result in Band D council tax rising by £32.52 per year. There will also be a further hike, brought in by the Scottish Government, for homes in bands E to H, as well as a proposal involving a change to council tax charged on second homes.

Councillor John Mitchell, depute leader with responsibility for finance, said: “After nine years of maintaining council tax rates at 2007/2008 levels, the council is proposing to increase council tax by three per cent.

“The council anticipates a very challenging budget settlement and is proposing a 3% increase in council tax to offset the impact of funding reductions on the provision of services.

“By making this increase the council will raise an additional £1.5million a year, which is crucial to supporting our budget in these challenging times, especially as we expect a reduction in the funding we receive in the annual settlement from Holyrood.”

While the 3% increase across the board will be considered at the budget setting meeting on February 9, the Scottish Government is also making changes to council tax charges for more expensive properties, so that properties in Bands E to H will experience a further increase, in addition to the proposed 3% increase by SBC.

Councillor Mitchell added: “The changes proposed by the Scottish Government alone are expected to increase the monthly council tax for a Band E property by almost £8 a month, and by over £40 a month for Band H properties.”

The final distribution of resources will not be known until the local government settlement is published on December 15.