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4.8 per cent Council Tax rise mooted

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COUNCIL Tax could rise by 4.84 per cent for the region’s householders in the next year.

Labour politicians yesterday revealed that the SNP Government have indicated their preferred increase to councils across Scotland. And such a move would generate an estimated £3.57m for Dumfries and Galloway Council coffers. Meanwhile, South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth and council leader Elaine Murray have called for an urgent rethink after it was revealed that the Government’s proposed budget will leave Dumfries and Galloway Council facing £11m of cuts in day to day services, and a loss of £4m capital funding for projects such as new schools.

A meeting of the local authority’s finance committee heard that as a result they will need to find £10.883m of savings this year through cuts and higher charges and council tax.

Dr Murray stressed that so far the council have agreed £5.686m of savings but will need to find another £ 5.197m to balance the books. In addition, councillors were told that over the next three years nearly £40m of cuts will be required – on top of over £106m saved since 2010.

Reacting, Mr Smyth said: “Locally people need to wake up to what the SNP Government’s budget means for our area- more cuts and higher council tax. I am not prepared to sit back and watch that happen, so unless there is an urgent rethink by the SNP I will vote against the Scottish Government’s budget in Parliament. I am sick and tired of seeing our local services cut year on year. Thousands of jobs have also already been lost as a result of cuts in council funding and more will go if the SNP’s budget goes ahead.”

Dr Murray added: “Local people will be furious that once again because of the SNP Government’s budget they face a council tax rise but will still see local services reduced because of Government attacks on council budgets.”

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