5-year council tax freeze is a council services freeze
Councillor George Regan
15 July 2011
The effects of the SNP's 5-year council tax freeze will soon be felt by everyone in Scotland.
Its short-term election popularity will soon be a long term feature in the work of all local councils.
Wales will not have the problems that the 5 year freeze will create in Scotland.
That's because the Welsh Nationalists didn't win the elections to the Welsh Assembly in May of this year.
Even if they had, the Welsh Nationalists, unlike the SNP, did not promise a 5-year council tax freeze
No, they said that they would scrap the council tax and replace it with a local income tax instead.
A local income tax is also the preferred SNP's policy as well, but that's the policy they ran away from introducing after the election in Scotland.
The Welsh Nationalists said that they would " continue to protect, as far as possible, funding for our councils in order to safeguard key services such as education and social care".
But the SNP's 5-year freeze will come at the cost of more cuts being dumped on exactly these key services on Scottish councils.
The extra £70 million that the SNP distribute to councils each year "to keep down" the council tax does not cover the entire cost of the freeze.
The funding gap is met by the money "saved" by council cuts.
Councils have been left with little alternative but to raise their charges, shed staff, freeze recruitment and reduce services.
Councils have faced stiff financial penalties if they did not fall into line with the SNP Government's demands for cuts.
If councils had refused to accept an overall 2.6 per cent cut in their funding, and sought to protect their services by defying the council tax freeze , the SNP government would have imposed on them an even higher level of cut in their funding - 6.4 per cent.
No one outside the SNP knows how this 5-year freeze can be afforded or how it can work.
For example, the Improvement Service for Scottish local government have produced staggering figures to show the growth in the gap between the finance for local government services and the cost of these services.
In 2013-14 the gap will be £1.7 billion.
By 2016-17 the gap will have leapt to as much as £2.8 million.
The SNP's kind of 5-year council tax freeze offered by the SNP was never intended to
last for 5 years.
It was intended to last only as long as this year's Scottish Parliament election campaign.
Those who voted for this kind of 5 year council tax freeze will soon discover that they will receive a sizeable council services freeze in return.Back to previous page