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Flood victims should not have to pay council tax

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Front
Flood victims should not have to pay council tax

VICTIMS of flooding in Dumfries and Galloway should be exempt from paying council tax for homes they have had to evacuate.

That was the plea from the region’s Labour Group at last week’s full council meeting.

“Residents should not be penalised for these unprecedented events,” said Lochar Councillor Linda Dorward.

She tabled a motion meeting arguing that all residents who are already dealing with the expense and trauma of floods should not be forced to continue paying council tax.

It said: “We are aware of individuals who have still not moved back into their homes after the unprecedented levels of flooding that hit this region in December last year.

“D and G residents who are dealing with the expense, trauma, and challenges of moving out of their property do not need the added state-enforced burden of paying council tax.

“That is tax on the property they live in and for a property that’s temporarily uninhabitable through no fault of their own.”

Labour leader Councillor Archie Dryburgh also shared an example of an ex-soldier who has found himself in such difficult circumstances.

He said: “In Kirkton, we had a former veteran who was suffering from PTSD and physical injuries as well.

“As part of the flooding in Kirkton, he had to move out of his house.

“All his equipment was in his house, but he couldn’t move it because it was contaminated by the flooding.

“He’s still not back in his house, and his mental health has degraded since then.”

He continued: “His big issue is that he’s still having to pay council tax, and he’s not in his house.

“When you are away on ship, or you’re deployed (in the forces) and you’ve got a house back home, you can get relief from council tax.

“But if you’re in a home that’s flooded you cannot get relief from council tax, and he still can’t use that house because of the damage and contamination.”

The motion called for council tax payment exemptions to be implemented when a home has to be vacated due to flooding or any other natural disaster.

It wasn’t clear whether or not the council had the powers to do this but leader Gail Macgregor said she fully supported this move and suggested that the issue be investigated as matter of urgency.

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