Alba Party Hail Council Tax Freeze Victory
Alex SALMOND’s Alba Party have hailed a victory in their campaign for the Scottish Government to freeze Council Tax next year.
Humza Yousaf has announced today at the SNP Conference that Council Tax will be frozen next year.
The move comments after Alba Party had spent the past few weeks calling for the move.
Former First Minister Alex Salmond had has the Scottish Government to restore his policy of a Council Tax freeze for all of Scotland to help tackle the cost of living crisis ahead of Humza Yousaf’s conference speech.
However, there is still no further detail as to whether or not the Scottish Government will scrap its plans to increase Council Tax for 1 in 4 households for the remainder of the Parliament.
Salmond told Yousaf that it was “unfathomable” that the Scottish Government would impose “substantial hikes to households in the midst of a cost of living crisis.”
Salmond’s Alba Party said that scrapping the proposals would be a clear sign that Yousaf is intent to move away from “damaging” Green Party policies.
The Scottish Government wanted to put in place Council Tax increases of between 7.5% and 22.5% that would result in over a quarter of households being hit by an additional council tax rise on top of any yearly increase imposed by their local Council. There is yet no clarity if these increases will now be implemented from 2025 onwards.
Speaking ahead of today’s speech Mr Salmond called on the SNP leader to announce today that the proposals will become “the latest in a long line of daft ideas by the Green wing of the Scottish Government to be scrapped.”
The controversial increases were endorsed by the Joint Working Group on Council Tax, which was established as a commitment in the 2021-22 Programme for Government and the Bute House agreement between the SNP and Greens.
As First Minister, Salmond embarked upon a flagship freeze of Council Tax across Scotland which was brought in as part of the 2008 Scottish Government Budget.
The ALBA Party leader says that the current cost of living crisis is “much more severe” than the financial crash of 2008 as he called on Humza Yousaf to not only scrap his Government’s proposed hefty hikes to Council Tax but also to implement a Council Tax Freeze for all of Scotland as part of next year’s budget.
Mr Salmond says that it was clear from voters in Rutherglen and across Scotland, that people want the Scottish Government to listen and to take urgent action to help tackle the cost of living crisis.
Commenting, former First Minister and Alba Party Leader said;
“For a Government to act it must first listen. But listening to the people you serve should not be something you only do because you’ve suffered a large By-Election defeat.
“It is clear from the many people that I have been listening to over this past year, that the cost of living crisis is a great worry that is not being addressed with an adequate response. Mortgage costs have soared. Electricity and Gas prices are sky high in our land of energy plenty. Food prices are still causing significant hardship to families.
“With the powers the Scottish Parliament has, there are a strictly limited number of economic interventions you can enact as many of the fiscal levers required to make a real difference are held by Westminster. It is important then that where our Parliament does have the power, to make that difference by using it in the right direction not the wrong one.
“I cannot then fathom why the Scottish Government would have, in the backdrop of families struggling to make ends meet, contemplated a Council Tax rise for one in four households across the country.
“As First Minister I listened to the people of Scotland and heard that they were fed up of unaffordable increases that, mainly Labour-led Councils inflicted upon them on an annual basis, so we acted, and we froze the Council Tax for seven years.
“The Scottish Government needs to Act with the same level of intent now. It should immediately scrap the crazed notions of their Green partners to drastically increase Council Tax for households across Scotland and Humza Yousaf should also clarify that these plans are now scrapped. It is welcome that Humza has taken Alba Party’s advice to help families, and to make a meaningful difference to the cost of living crisis by announcing that he will do in his first budget as First Minister, as I did in mine - put in place a national freeze of Council Tax rises. These are the sort of common sense policies that the Scottish Government has to start delivering again, and soon, because politically it is much, much “later than they think”.