Falkirk Council: Labour propose eight per cent council tax rise to use cash for roads and flood prevention

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The Labour group on Falkirk Council is to propose rejecting the Scottish Government’s council tax freeze when the council meets to set its budget tomorrow (Wednesday).

Labour councillors say increasing council tax by eight per cent locally will allow the council to invest £4 million in road repairs as well as flood prevention projects and work to clear gullies, among others.

The increase of eight per cent in total – around £9 a month for a Band D home – would include one per cent that would be used to borrow £10 million to fund the projects.

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The Labour group leader, Councillor Anne Hannah says that Labour’s budget, rejecting the “underfunded SNP council tax freeze” will allow them to “invest in the future of Falkirk’s people and services”.

The Labour group propose increasing council tax by eight per cent in Falkirk. Pic: National WorldThe Labour group propose increasing council tax by eight per cent in Falkirk. Pic: National World
The Labour group propose increasing council tax by eight per cent in Falkirk. Pic: National World

She said: “We have set out a plan to use one per cent of our proposed eight per cent council tax rise to invest in the fundamental services people need.

“It will mean people paying slightly more. Living in a Band D home will cost you just over £9 a month extra.

“But it will allow us to tackle many of the miseries forced on us by years of SNP government attacks on council budgets.”

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The group’s deputy leader, Councillor Euan Stainbank, explained Labour’s proposal, saying: “Our communities have made it clear that we need to sort the roads out.

“Officers have made it clear that to prevent the further deterioration of our road network we need to see investment of £4 million extra annually. This is what this budget provides.

“We need to start properly investing in flood defences and have put £1 million extra forward towards schemes in Dunmore, Westquarter, Letham, Reddingmuirhead, Maddiston and Larbert.

“We need to improve our drain infrastructure and will commit an additional £1 million to tackling the substantial issues across the Falkirk Council area.

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“Our School ICT needs a well thought out and extensively funded replacement programme and we will provide an additional £1.5 million of funding, to prevent the risk of over 2000 secondary school computers and 1000 primary school computers being pulled out of our classrooms.”

Labour is also suggesting an extra £600,000 for school buildings and an extra £250,000 to help community asset transfer bids with projects to reduce carbon emissions.

Mr Stainbank said: “The administration’s Property Review must not simply shift high emitting buildings from the council’s books to the communities without additional resources.”

The extra money would also fund an additional £250,000 to make playparks more accessible for all young people.

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Using a percentage of council tax to fund capital expenditure has been done before by Falkirk Council and council officers have once again suggested it this year.

The SNP administration has said it will back the Scottish Government’s council tax freeze, arguing that it will help families struggling with the cost of living.

However, as a minority administration the SNP will need the support of other councillors to get their budget through.