Council tax hike may be opposed by town halls

Local rates for services will rise next year
Local rates for services will rise next year
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Council tax hikes will be imposed on ratepayers next year by the Scottish Government - even though some town hall chiefs may wish to retain the freeze, MSPs have been told.

Scots living in more expensive band E-H properties are to see their local tax rates rise next year under Government proposals which aim to raise £100 million for education.

The move today came under fire from council leaders who say this undermines "local democracy" as they appeared before MSPs

The council tax has been frozen for the past nine years but councils will be free to put it up next year under the changes set out by the SNP. But ministers are imposing their own rise in more expensive properties as part of the drive to tackle the "attainment gap" between schools in richer and poorer areas of the country.

But Kevin Keenan, of local Government body COSLA, hit out at the move as gave evidence to Holyrood's local government committee today.

"We would like to see councils having the ability to freeze or raise the council tax without government imposing this on them," he said.

He insisted that some councils around the country may be inclined to retain the "freeze" if this was affordable.

"It's about local democracy and local decision making," he added.

"What's being imposed by Government does not allow that."

Angry council chiefs also want to ensure that the accompanying letter explaining the council tax bill to Scots makes it clear that part of the hike in their bill is being imposed by the Scottish Government.