Anas Sarwar backs a council tax freeze
Anas Sarwar has said he will support a freeze on council tax if it is funded properly by the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Labour leader said he would back the move to prevent bills rising but warned that it should not be at the expense of jobs and service cuts.
It has been reported that First Minister Humza Yousaf was consulting on council tax rises of up to 22.5 per cent for people in larger homes.
But he U-turned on the plan, announcing a freeze to council tax for every household during his speech at SNP conference earlier this month.
The decision was met with criticism by council body Cosla, whose president Shona Morrison described the decision to freeze council tax as a “serious breach” of the Verity House Agreement.
Speaking to the Daily Record, Sarwar said: “Labour will always support measures to help reduce people's bills. We also have to accept that if it is not a funded council tax freeze, many of the services that the poorest people in our community rely on the most will be the ones that are cut.”
He added: “I back the freeze. I do back the freeze, but it has to be fully funded.”
Sarwar acknowledged the feelings of local government in response to the first minister’s announcement: “I can completely understand why councillors are frustrated with the settlement they have with the Scottish Government, why they feel undermined by the Scottish Government.”
The Scottish Labour leader criticised Yousaf’s handling of the announcement, having done so without input from local authorities.
He said: “The process has been absolutely wrong.”
Speaking to Holyrood Sources, Scottish Labour's deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: "We welcome a [council tax] freeze.
"Anything that stops bills going up at a time where people are struggling is something that should be welcomed. But we only do so on the basis that the freeze is fully funded."