Falkirk Council leader: ‘Council tax freeze has caused cuts’

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre presented its analysis on the impact of the council tax freeze to MSPs at Holyrood - but the claims have been challenged
The Scottish Parliament Information Centre presented its analysis on the impact of the council tax freeze to MSPs at Holyrood - but the claims have been challenged

Claims the Scottish Government’s council tax freeze has not been bad for households have been challenged.

SNP allies Angus MacDonald and Martyn Day issued a joint statement this week insisting keeping the bill the same for the last eight years has been more than paid for - and helped family budgets go further.

They spoke out after a report by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre showed the money provided by the government to freeze the council tax has resulted in councils banking more than they would have done by upping the rates by one per cent a year.

But Craig Martin, leader of Falkirk Council’s Labour-led administration, has accused them of being “conservative” with the truth.

Mr MacDonald, MSP for Falkirk East, said: “This independent expert research shows the freeze has been more than fully funded and completely demolishes years of bogus claims from Labour. The fact is this government has supported council budgets while boosting family incomes. Labour has spent eight years condemning a freeze which benefits poorest people the most.”

Martyn Day, MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, claimed: “With independent experts completely rubbishing Labour’s position on council tax, it’s time for them to apologise for eight years of grossly misleading claims.”

But Councillor Martin hit back saying: “I think we know who needs to apologise to the people of Falkirk, those who have voted to double cuts to local councils than they received.

“Actions speak louder than words and the actions of the SNP MSPs to inflict harsh cuts on local services then attack local councils is worse than misleading - it’s blatant lies!

“The SNP government say it’s funded a three per cent council tax freeze each year since 2007 at a cost of billions. I wonder if those hurting due to well needed services being diminished or cut would rather have seen some of that money going to protecting them rather than funding a council tax freeze? MacDonald and Day should stop ‘spinning’ and start telling constituents the truth!”

Funding to Scotland’s 32 councils has fallen by six per cent since the SNP won outright control, while the funding cut from Westminster over that time has been three per cent.

Council watchdogs Cosla say the cash being made available is not keeping up with the cost of delivering key services.