Scotland politics

Moray Council to maintain council tax freeze and not put up bills

Moray Council Image copyright Ryan Main
Image caption Moray Council will now not put up council tax bills

Moray Council has dropped plans to put up council tax by 18% and will now maintain the freeze on household bills.

The authority's ruling administration initially said the move was necessary to protect frontline services.

However, council leader Stewart Cree said the amount it could raise would be "all but wiped out by Scottish government penalties".

All of Scotland's 32 councils are in the process of agreeing their budgets for 2016/17.

Moray Council, which has an independent/Conservative administration, needs to cut spending by £11.9m in the next financial year.

Councillors proposed in the middle of last month that council tax bills could rise by as much as 18% which would have seen an increase for Band D properties of £204 a year.

'Make ends meet'

But that move would have resulted in the government withholding £1.1m which would have been allocated to the Moray to offset the freeze, which has been in place across Scotland since 2007.

Council leader Mr Cree said: "We simply cannot proceed with the proposal as the extra penalties it would now attract would have a devastating effect on the services people in Moray tell us they want protected.

"So to make ends meet this year the administration have decided to defer certain works and spending, and to draw the remaining shortfall from reserves.

"We have pledged not to cut services and make any redundancies, and we'll stick to that."

He added: "But this is for one year only - it is not sustainable. During that year we would expect the Scottish government to finally make good on its nine-year-old promise to reform local government funding."

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