South Scotland

Scottish Borders Council plans extra 1% tax rise

Council HQ Image copyright Google

Scottish Borders Council has decided to add an extra 1% to its council tax rise in April.

The local authority had already agreed a 3% rise - but is now looking to take that to 4%.

The additional increase is part of budget plans for 2019/20 and will raise an extra £600,000-a-year for the Conservative/Independent-led council.

The move will mean the bill for a band D property in the region will increase by about £45-a-year.

Scottish Borders Council council tax changes
Band 2018/19 charge 2019/20 charge
A £766.68 £797.35
B £894.46 £930.24
C £1,022.24 £1,063.13
D £1,150.02 £1,196.02
E £1,510.99 £1,571.44
F £1,868.78 £1,943.53
G £2,252.11 £2,342.21
H £2,817.54 £2,930.25

In a motion due to go before councillors next week, council leader Shona Haslam, said: "The Conservative and Independent administration has taken the difficult decision to raise council tax to 4% next year.

"This will provide match-funding for a new Hawick High School and provide an extra £2.3m investment in our roads and pavements over the next four years."

The money will be used to leverage a loan of £20m, which will be used to bring the construction of a new high school in Hawick forward, with the intention that a new school will be opened in the town within the next five years.

Scottish Borders Council has indicated that it must save £29.5m over the next five years, but despite this there are numerous areas of additional spending in the 2019/20 budget.

'Fundamental priorities'

This includes spending £16m over ten years to gives every P6 to S6 pupil an Apple iPad; funding a second community action team, made up of seven police officers; and spending an additional £3m on extra care housing in Hawick, Kelso, Eyemouth and Peebles.

Opposition SNP and Lib Dem councillors have also revealed their rival budget which would hold the increase at 3%.

They said the administration had made budget decisions "without fully considering the policy implications".

They said their budget would focus on "fundamental priorities" for the Borders by investing in schools, community services and roads and transport.

It would also restore a maintenance regime for cemeteries and freeze planned cuts to bus subsidies.

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