Region’s council tax is likely to rise by 3%

Scottish Borders Council headquarters in Newtown St Boswells.
Scottish Borders Council headquarters in Newtown St Boswells.

Local Democracy Reporter

If approved, the increase will be the third time in a row Borders taxpayers have seen their council tax rise following the end of a nine-year freeze ordered by the Scottish Government.

A report set to go before councillors on Thursday, December 20, explains: “Council tax funds around 20% of local government net revenue expenditure in the Scottish Borders, the remainder coming from government in the form of direct revenue support grant.

“Council tax in the Scottish Borders is the sixth lowest in mainland Scotland.”

“Council tax is a tax on domestic property. All domestic properties are banded based on their valuation at the 1991 levels. Any new properties are also assessed on estimated values from 1991 and allocated to one of the eight property bandings, from A to H.”

Borderers are still paying an average of £508 less in council tax annually than their counterparts south of the border in Northumberland. In Coldstream, for example, residents living in band-D properties can expect to pay £593 less than those in similar properties in Cornhill-on-Tweed, less than a mile away.

If the proposed rise is approved, occupants of band-D properties in the Borders will pay out an extra £34.50 a year, up from £1,150 to £1,184.50. The majority of properties in the region fall into bands A to C, (36,203 out of the total of 58,253 domestic properties here).

But even if council tax goes up SBC says it will still face financial problems because of the Scottish Government’s draft budget.

Prior to Thursday’s meeting Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam said: “It is incredibly disappointing to see budgets cut for core services once again. It means that our hands are being tied ever tighter in local government.

“The Scottish Government is misleading the public in saying that spending is increasing. The reality is that income tax is going up, the cost of living is increasing, and council services are being threatened, services which our most vulnerable rely on.

“This budget means less money for roads, less money for maintaining our towns, less money for our education system, less money for our elderly care services and less money for supporting families. This budget places an even greater challenge on local government to deliver more for less, it cannot continue.”