LGIU Response: First Minister’s announcement on council tax freeze
Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, LGIU Scotland, said:
“LGIU Scotland is deeply concerned by yesterday’s announcement from the First Minister to freeze council tax.
“The lack of consultation with local government demonstrates a failure of the principles of trust and respect that should be the foundation of the working relationship between the Scottish Government and local authorities and which are at the heart of the Verity House Agreement.
“Our research shows how important it is that local government is empowered to make decisions regarding its financing. International comparisons clearly show the detrimental impact that undermining the financial independence of local authorities has on the financial sustainability of the sector and the delivery of essential local services.
“Freezing council tax should be a decision for councils, not for central government. Even where those freezes are funded by grants, the loss of growth in the council tax base undermines the council’s finances for years to come. Many councils in England are still recovering from this nearly a decade on.
“Everyone aspires to a sustainable, stable future for local government finances but this can only be achieved by giving councils control, not by imposing decisions upon them.
“Scotland had seemed to be making good progress in this regard with the Verity House Agreement and commitments to empowering local government. So it’s disappointing to see this backward step.”