At the recent Budget meeting held in Cunninghame House the Conservatives unanimously voted against a proposed Labour Administration council tax grab of 12.5%. The Conservative amendment showing solidarity and support for the Officers Budget was backed by Independent and SNP Councillors.
Depute Leader Todd Ferguson remarked,
“The proposal from the Labour Administration to increase Council Tax to 12.5% is absolutely ludicrous. At a time when the SNP, propped up by their Green support act, are making Scotland the highest taxed part of the United Kingdom I would have thought that the supposedly ‘socially conscious’ Labour Party would have understood that the people of North Ayrshire are being driven into the ground by continuous rises to taxation.
Councillor Cullinane, explained that raising Council Tax by 12.5% was ‘bold’ and ‘radical' which was a little surprising given the recent controversy within the Labour Party over the ‘Williamson model’ which was coined after suggestions that Chris Williamson MP would double Council Tax. The fallout from this potentially led to Mr. Williamson resigning from his Shadow Cabinet Ministerial position. Shortly thereafter Labour MP Wes Streeting tweeted, “Doubling council tax is not, and never will be, Labour's policy,” and, “Those supporting Williamson's barmy council tax idea should know that Council Tax is not a progressive tax and doubling it isn't a Labour policy.”
Perhaps the North Ayrshire Labour Administration did not get the memo.”
The real danger to the proposed increase of 12.5% is that it relies on the SNP/Green alliance not shifting the goalposts where Council Tax is concerned by increasing the current 3% cap, a move which has not been ruled out by the First Minister in recent weeks.
The potential risk to North Ayrshire residents, who would have already been crippled by the proposed Labour 12.5% increase in 2018/2019 could then potentially have been hit with an additional 2, 3 or 4% rise on top, should Derek MacKay and the SNP/Green alliance raise the Council Tax cap in subsequent years.”
Councillor Ferguson commented,
“the Conservative Group fought an election campaign on the back of Council Tax increases, under the previous Labour Administration, which amounted to increased Council Tax rates of up to 23% which was further topped up by the additional 3% annual increase. The Labour proposal of an additional 12.5% increase for 2018/19 would lead to increases to Council Tax of 38.5% over a 12-month period for some residents of North Ayrshire.
This is simply astonishing and with absolutely no guarantees that the SNP/Green alliance in Holyrood will not propose further increases to Council Tax rates in 2019/20 there is no way that our Group would ever support a proposed budget which would do maximum damage to the financial position of the people of North Ayrshire who are already being over taxed by the SNP.
To quote the great Sir Winston Churchill, “I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”