Letter from the Editor: We're back in the old routine

It seems strange to be reporting on a rise in council tax again.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 24th February 2017, 9:11 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 12:39 pm

For years the local authority’s budget was a staple in every newspaper’s schedule of events, featuring as it inevitably did a hike in rates, community charge or whatever it happened to be called at the time.

For a young journalist starting out in 1987 there was the added spectre of the hated poll tax on the horizon, and boy did that provide plenty of column inches.

But for the past nine years that element to coverage has been missing with a council tax freeze in operation across the country.

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It’s not that the budgets in those intervening years have passed unnoticed – there have been plenty of threats to jobs, cuts to services and arguments to fill papers – but there’s never been that headline number to splash across the front page as people are generally more interested in how much money they have in their pocket.

Now we have it - three per cent - but if we expected a huge outpouring of emotion then we will have been left disappointed.

When the reins were released by the Scottish Government, I think most people expected they’d be asked to pay more.

And the prevailing feeling seems to be that, while no-one welcomes a rise in tax, with the financial headache councils currently face it’s worth it if it protects jobs and services. Certainly there can’t be too many times when both sides of the chamber have agreed to the rise – even if not how it should be spent.

Personally I might ask a few more questions - particularly about timing – but in the end the sentiment is the same.