Council tax freeze remains ‘clear objective’ but no guarantee
The Scottish Government has said the intention to freeze council tax for all households remains a “clear objective” but is unable to guarantee bills will not rise next year.
The freeze was announced by First Minister Humza Yousaf at the SNP’s party conference last month.
But it has created considerable tension between the government and council body Cosla, who were not consulted on the move before it was announced.
A Scottish Government spokesperson confirmed “regular discussions” were ongoing between the government and Cosla.
Asked if the government could guarantee bills would be frozen, the spokesperson said: “That’s the position that the government has set out, and that’s the one that the government is determined to deliver.”
He added: “There will be a process of negotiation. There’s been a very clear objective of freezing the council tax for all council taxpayers.”
In the days following the first minister’s announcement, Cosla released a statement saying there had been “no agreement” from councils not to increase council tax bills.
It said any freeze had “no impact for the poorest in society” in the past but had instead “eroded” council funds, making it harder to deliver services.
Yousaf has said the freeze will be fully funded by central government but the amount to be handed to councils in the next budget has not yet been confirmed.
The government spokesperson added part of this will depend on the UK Government’s tax and spending plans to be confirmed in the autumn statement later this month.