SNP council tax rises to hit Scotland’s ‘most vulnerable’ families as 80,000 to pay more | Personal Finance | Finance

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The SNP is being urged to “put on hold” plans to raise taxes which could financially hurt 80,000 of Scotland’s “most vulnerable” families on the lowest incomes.

A Scottish Government consultation document published in July suggested that Holywood lawmakers and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) were exploring introducing more flexibility when it comes to council tax bands.

Specifically, this would result in tax rises for households in Bands E and higher of between 7.7 percent and 22.5 percent.

Earlier this week, Scottish Labour claimed the decision to hike the council tax bands would in reality hurt 80,000 of the country’s low-income households.

The Scottish Retail Consortium has previously recommended the SNP-led Government and First Minister Humza Yousaf adopt a “more frugal approach” to spending instead of raising taxes.

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Based on the Scottish Government’s figures, Scottish Labour reports that 13.7 percent of low-income households live in homes with a tax band E or above.

This is equivalent to 108,200 households and, while some may have access to Council Tax Reduction support, only 23,060 claimants from these tax bands receive this benefit.

All together, Scottish Labour claims the SNP’s tax increases would hit between 80,000 to 85,000 of the poorest families.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Express, Chris Reed, the executive marketing director at Protect Line, recommended the Scottish Government halts its plans for the time being.

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When asked whether increasing council tax should go ahead, the financial expert said: “Yes, and no”.

He explained: “At the moment, the proposed increase should be put on hold until inflation comes under control and the current economic crisis that the UK as a whole is facing begins to ease and level off.

“When it does, that’s when the rises can be implemented, and as unfortunate as they are, they’re also necessary.

“This is to try and shore up the shortfall that councils have had to try and deal with and weather, in order to maintain public spending and ensure that they can maintain a decent level of public service across the board.”

The finance expert warned that SNP politicians should be under no illusion that the pending tax rises will hurt Scotland’s lower-income families.

Mr Reed added: “There’s no way of skirting around the issue or ignoring it, and it’s going to be hard for the most vulnerable.

“Maybe a rethink about the amount that’s payable is needed, and social and economic escalator has to be factored into the equation so that the financial burden for those in the most need is lessened.”

Daily Express has contacted the Scottish Government for comment.

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