Scottish Borders Council agrees to 3% rise in council tax

Scottish Borders Council has confirmed it will bump up its council tax from April.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 20th December 2018, 1:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th December 2018, 1:51 pm
Scottish Borders Council's headquarters in Newtown.
Scottish Borders Council's headquarters in Newtown.

Councillors have voted to increase the tax by 3% to boost the authority’s income by £1.8m.

It will be the third time in a row that Borderers have seen their council tax rise following the end of a nine-year freeze ordered by the Scottish Government.

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.

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At a full meeting of the council today, December 20, Tweeddale East councillor Robin Tatler spoke in favour of raising the tax, saying: “There is a logic behind this, and we’re giving Scottish Borders taxpayers a lot of notice.

“A 3% increase represents roughly an inflation-rate increase and allows us to set budgets with a degree of certainty.”

Leaderdale and Melrose councillor Tom Miers also supported the motion, saying: “The purpose of council tax is so that local government can make informed choices. It’s about weighing the interests of protecting services against putting an additional burden on taxpayers.

“I don’t support the increase that we’re looking to put forward, but we have no choice. It’s entirely unsatisfactory, but it must be done.”

Councillors voted unanimously to support the tax rise, but Tweeddale East councillor Stuart Bell did speak in favour of delaying the rise until more is known about the Scottish Government’s local government finance settlement.

Due to the nine-year council tax freeze implemented by the Holyrood government, Scottish councils are 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.