North East MSP Mike Rumbles MSP today said that the SNP must end the council tax rather than entrench it, after it was confirmed that a debate will now take place ahead of the vote on the Scottish Government’s proposal to increase rates this Thursday.
The Scottish Government didn’t schedule any additional time but Mr Rumbles secured support for suspending normal procedures to allow for a proper debate on the proposal.
This means that, without the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ intervention, the SNP’s plan to hike rates by at least £100 for those in Band E and above would have been the subject of a debate lasting just six minutes, with only one MSP allowed to speak on behalf of each side of the proposition.
Mr Rumbles said: “The SNP’s stealthy approach to hiking the council tax has been matched by their stealthy approach to getting the changes approved. They are fooling no-one. This autumn we have seen that the Scottish Government has fiddled block grant money over five years to underfund Aberdeen Council to the tune of £122million, and now figures show their proposed changes will leave 41% of Aberdeenshire households worse off.
“In Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire we now have two of the poorest funded local authorities in Scotland. Money raised locally should be used to support local schools, roads and services, not used to subsidise SNP spending in the central belt. It is past time we received our fair share. The SNP should stop using the North East as a honey pot to sweeten their harmful cuts and centralisation agenda.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats do not propose to hide away from the responsibility of funding our education system. A modest penny on income tax for our education service would be the progressive way to raise £500 million that would truly transform early education provision, schools and colleges.
“Instead of embedding the Council Tax in Scotland for another decade and seizing even more control over local government finance, the SNP should this week listen to their own advice and scrap it.”