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COSLA PREDICTS 10% RISE IN COUNCIL TAX

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Scottish council tax bills will rise by an average of 10% next year as a result of the government's local governmen...
Scottish council tax bills will rise by an average of 10% next year as a result of the government's local government finance settlement, predicts COSLA.

The settlement, which sees a reduction of 0.5%, when extra provision for care in the community is removed from the equation, will also result in job losses, reductions in services and increased charges, COSLA warns MPs who are due to debate local government finance today.

COSLA senior vice president Keith Geddes said: 'There can be no doubt whatsoever that government is cutting back of local authority spending to allow tax cuts to be made prior to the next general election and that local authorities are being made the scapegoats for a politically motivated policy which is forcing us to make cuts in vital services.'

And he warned that rises in council tax would be combined with higher rents: 'Further rent rises are inevitable as a result of the government's policy, adding still more to the burden on tenants already facing increased council tax bills.'

Around £2bn of government support from housing has been removed from local authorities over the last 14 years and that has resulted in council house rents rising by 464.4% between 1979/80, when the average weekly rent was £4.92, and the current year, when tenants are paying £27.77 a week.

'Had the government not withdrawn their support and rents had only to keep pace with inflation, the average weekly rent today would be £12.30,' commented cllr Geddes.

'I will be telling MPs that at the beginning of the last decade, government support for housing was worth £228m with general fund contributions providing a further £100m - next year the combined total of these resources will be just £22m,' he says.

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