Revealed: Scotland’s postcode lottery of council tax rises

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay. Picture: TSPL
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay. Picture: TSPL
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A typical Scottish household will pay an average of £37 more in council tax this year, according to official statistics, which also reveal a postcode lottery of bills across Scotland.

The average council tax paid per dwelling across Scotland will increase from £1,069 in 2017-18 to £1,106 in the current financial year of 2018-19, according to Scottish Government statistics.

When the data is broken down by local authority area, it reveals large disparities in the amount paid by the average household.

Argyll and Bute will see the largest increase with the average bill going up from £1,071 to £1,166, a rise of £95. But in neighbouring West Dunbartonshire the increase is just £18, with the average bill ­rising from £971 to £989.

The council tax freeze operated by the Scottish Government and local authorities ended in 2017 as town hall budgets came under pressure.

In his most recent budget, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay gave councils the option of raising council tax by up to 3 per cent in a move designed to ease the financial pressures.

By raising the levy by 3 per cent, councils can raise a total of £77 million.

Other notable increases from last year will occur in Edinburgh, where the average bill will jump from £1217 to £1,275, an increase of £58 for the average household.

Similarly, the additional annual burden in East Renfrewshire will be £54 with the average bill going up from £1,405 to £1,459.

In contrast, council tax in Aberdeen is reducing by £6 a year, moving from £1,187 to £1,181.

Households in the Western Isles will also see a more modest increase than their counterparts in Argyll and Bute, with average bills going up by £23 from £781 to £804.

Scottish Conservative local government spokesman Alexander Stewart said householders would be “furious” at the “postcode lottery”.

He said: “It’s patently unfair that the average bill in some parts of the country is going up by almost £100, while in others there is little change.

“Scotland is now far and away the highest-taxed part of the UK, and the geographical disparity in council tax increases is rubbing salt in that particular wound.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “All local authorities have chosen to increase council tax by 3 per cent in 2018-19, generating an additional £77m for public service provision.

“In 2018-19, the average charge for all property bands is between £300 and £450 lower in Scotland than England.”