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Council Tax set to rise

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By Fiona Reid
Council Tax set to rise

A THREE per cent rise in the region’s Council Tax bills is being proposed by councillors for 2022-3.

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Labour/SNP Administration revealed their budget proposals this week and it includes what they describes as a ‘limited’ increase.

The group say the extra money generated by the hike will support local services and jobs and claim the majority of residents will pay no more than 71p a week extra.

All councillors will meet in Dumfries on Tuesday to set next year’s budget and agree spending priorities across key services.

The administration’s proposals, which will be voted on at the committee, include employing an extra ten teachers and 14 more learning support assistants for the region; boosting the income of foster families; funding a 2022 Summer of Play programme; and increasing roads investment by £960,000.

Council leader Elaine Murray said: “This is a budget that invests in local priorities.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the value of the services our council provides and the workforce which provides them. As we continue to recover from the pandemic new challenges face local residents and businesses, such as the cost of living crisis and rising inflation. The budget proposals recognise the pressure on household budgets while making investments that further support families and communities.”

Meanwhile, a report for next week’s meeting has confirmed the local authority is facing a budget shortfall of more than £5 million.

Finance and accounting manager Gillian Ross has told elected members that savings will have to be

found and ‘very difficult decisions’ made.

Her report said: “At present the Band D council tax in Dumfries and Galloway of £1223 is seven per cent below the national average.

“Having a council tax below the national average effectively reduces the funding available to support council services in Dumfries and Galloway by £5.4m per annum.

“Having a council tax level below the national average has also in recent years resulted in the council receiving reduced shares of national funding allocations where these have been linked to council tax income levels.

“Each one per cent increase in the council tax level will generate additional funding of around £775,000 per annum to support the provision of council services on a recurring basis.”