ALBA call for Council Tax Freeze
The ALBA Party has today called on the Scottish Government to fully fund a Council Tax Freeze in upcoming Council budgets across Scotland.
The policy was approved today at a National Executive Committee meeting of the ALBA Party.
Household budgets across Scotland are set to skyrocket with electricity and gas bills predicted to rise significantly in April 2022, with the energy Price Cap predicted to reach approximately £2,000 a year / £165 a month. This is a 45% increase on the current price cap.
ALBA fear that energy price hike bills will cause a cost of living crisis especially as Council Tax is set to rise across Scotland at the start of April this year.
As part of the Scottish Government’s Draft budget local authorities have been given full autonomy to increase Council Tax at any level with no upper cap. Across Scotland Council Tax bills are set to increase by over 10% over the past three years.
With Local Authority budgets under severe pressure every Council in Scotland has already called on the Scottish Government to increase funding to Councils to avoid massive cuts to local services.
Most Councils are budgeting for an increase in Council tax of at least 3% with some Councils considering huge hikes of over 5%. We want the Scottish Government to increase the Local Government settlement to secure a deal with local Councils to freeze Council tax increases to help reduce an imminent cost of living crisis.
The policy would cost £135M and this would provide Councils the equivalent of a 4.5% increase of Council tax. This would provide assurance and certainty to households as people face unprecedented challenges.
ALBA Party have been targeting household poverty as part of the upcoming Council election campaign. In recent weeks the Party have called on the UK Government to subsidise household energy bills by paying 50% of electricity bills over a tariff cap as well as the party’s “5 Point Plan to tackle child and family poverty”.
Commenting after Alba’s National Executive Committee Alba Party Leader Alex Salmond said:
“ When Scotland previously faced financial pressures after the financial crash we successfully managed to fund a Council Tax freeze for several years under challenging circumstances.
“ Since the Council Tax Freeze ended we have already seen most Councils increase Council Tax over and above inflation.
“ People are now facing unprecedented challenges and extra pressures due to the Coronavirus, however this year energy bills and other household bills are going to increase at a rate which are completely unaffordable for many families.
“ If the decision is made to drop increases in Council Tax through letter boxes this Spring alongside rises in energy bills we will see many people pushed into poverty and many families unable to pay these costs. That is why we are today calling on the Scottish Government to fully fund a freeze in Council Tax.
“ Taken together with our 5 point plan to tackle child and family poverty, as well as our call to reduce household energy bills, these are the policies that are needed immediately to stop an imminent cost of living crisis.”
A) As part of the Draft Scottish Government budget Councils are allowed to increase Council tax after being full flexibility in setting council tax rates. If every Council raised Council tax by 4.5% this would raise the equivalent of £135M
B). ALBA Party’s 5 point plan to tackle child and family poverty:
1.Introduce an Annual £500 payment to assist half a million low earnings households in Scotland.
2.Increase the Scottish Child Payment to £40 per week for 400,000 children in quarter of a million households.
3.Extend free school meals to all primary and secondary pupils in Scotland.
4.Double the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) from £30 to £60 for 16-19 year olds in school and college.
5.Introduce universal access to sports facilities for all children and young people under 18.
C). ALBA energy cost reduction scheme
Average energy costs in the UK per kw/h in pence
Year. Average unit cost (p)
Facts about the scheme:
If the average electricity spot price in a month exceeds 17.5p per kilowatt hour, the UK Government would provide support for household electricity bills.
The U.K. Government would provide a rebate of half the price beyond the ceiling of 17.5 per kilowatt hour up to a maximum of 5,000 kWh per month. The rebate amount will be independent of which type of electricity package a household has.
D). Energy U.K. Household Energy Bill Affordability in 2022
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