Falkirk councillors agree timescale for Council Tax and budget decisions

Falkirk Council will set its council tax at a meeting next Wednesday, but any more budget decisions will be delayed until the following week, on March 11.

Separating the two is very unusual but councillors have accepted that they will not have the information needed to make important budget decisions next week.

The council is legally obliged to set council tax before March 11, but in practice this needs to be done as early as possible to ensure bills are ready at least two weeks before the first payment is due on April 1.

It looks almost certain that Falkirk councillors will agree to freeze council tax and accept Scottish Government money instead, which will be equivalent to an increase of around three per cent.

Picture Michael Gillen

As well as the financial turmoil caused by the pandemic, the council is waiting for clarification of final details of the Scottish Government budget.

However, even that won't remove all uncertainty as the UK budget has once again been delayed.

This could mean more money coming to Scotland and potentially to local councils but it may be months before the full amount becomes clear.

Until four years ago, the Scottish Government had frozen council tax for ten years.

Since then, a band D charge £1070 council tax has been increased by three per cent for three consecutive years before an increase of 4.84% was applied in 2020/21.

In 2020/21 Falkirk Council had a band D charge of £225.58 which was £82.42 below the Scottish average of £13081 and the fifth lowest in mainland Scotland.

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