Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has today blasted the UK Government’s decision to publish its budget on the same day that Scottish local authorities are legally required to set their Council Tax levels.
The Accounts Commission, the public spending watchdog for local government, has warned Holyrood’s Local Government Committee that the decision will be “problematic” for councils.
The UK budget has been pushed back to March 11th, causing major uncertainty for the Scottish budget, which cannot be set without knowing UK spending plans. This delay will have a knock-on effect to local councils.
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:
“The UK Government’s inability to manage their own budget process will have potentially significant consequences for the people of Perthshire.
“It is utterly unacceptable that Perth and Kinross Council will have to set their Council Tax rates without any guidance regarding their financial settlement for the year ahead.
“As a result, Council Tax rates may be set at a rate either higher than necessary, thus putting an unfair burden on the tax payer, or lower than necessary, thereby endangering vital local services.
“This is simply another example of the hapless Tories’ inability to govern and their inattention to the issues that matter to Scotland.”
SNP Group Leader, Cllr Grant Laing, added:
“It is unfortunate that Perth and Kinross Council will be forced to take hugely consequential tax decisions without being given all necessary information.
“The SNP will work with all council officers and other parties to ensure that an orderly process is followed, and that sensible decisions are taken for the residents of Perth and Kinross.
“I would hope that, given the backlash to the UK Government’s budget timetable, steps are quickly taken to clarify the financial footing of the Scottish Government, and by extension local authorities.”
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