Sturgeon crisis: Scotland faces eye-watering 50% rise in council tax – dire warning

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The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) said a change in the law was required to address council deficits and avoid significant tax rises. COSLA said £739m of additional funding would be needed to help prop up Scottish councils.



Scottish authorities have warned they face “devastating” financial black holes with Highland Council being the worst figures.

Figures show the authority faces a £96.6million gap in its finances due to lost revenues which represents the equivalent of £411 for every resident, the worst in the UK.

The COSLA paper added: “Given the initial forecasts from Local Authorities it would require a Council Tax increase in 2021/22 in excess of 50 percent.”

It also claims current laws will mean council deficits would have to be met through a council tax increase.


COSLA continued that council tax legislation “should be amended” to allow a “financial deficit attributed to COVID-19” to be repaid over a period of time.

It comes after the Scottish Government said that it needed to borrow up to £500 million more to deal with the impact of coronavirus as well as having greater flexibility over its capital budget.

A formal request was sent to the Treasury last week, ahead of a meeting of UK finance ministers.

But Scottish Finance Minister Kate Forbes MSP said her request for more financial powers has been “kicked into the long grass” by the Treasury today.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme this morning, she said she hoped the request would be taken seriously.

She said: “I last spoke to the Treasury on Friday and we went through the issues once again.

“Unfortunately it keeps getting kicked into the long grass and my hope is that at some point they will deal with the issue seriously and enable us to have those powers.”

The Scottish Government is also calling for an £80 billion UK-wide stimulus package, which would be the equivalent of 4 percent of GDP.

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She said: “My job is to set out persuasively what we need right now to reboot the economy.

“This is one of the most significant economic crises of our generation and we desperately need the powers and the investment to reboot it.”

“I’m not waiting for those powers to be passed over, we’re using the powers that we have and we’re using the resources that we have.

“But there’s no question that a lot of these ambitious ideas come down to the need for the UK Government to be a little bit more relaxed in working with us to pass on those flexibilities in powers.”

In response, a Scottish Government spokesman, said: “The Scottish Government have committed almost £330 million of additional funding to local government for COVID-19 measures and Scotland’s councils have received £405 million in advanced payments so far this financial year to assist them with their cash flow, and by the end of July this will have risen to £455 million.”

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