West Lothian Council freeze council tax

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Residents in Linlithgow will not see any further increases on council tax after the council decided against proposals to hike up the charge.

Initially plans had been to use the power given to local authorities to increase council tax by one per cent.

However, at West Lothian Council’s budget setting meeting on Monday, the decision was taken to freeze tax for 46 per cent of households in the town, in bands A-D.

The council said the decision to freeze taxes for another year was taken with families in mind.

Due to Scottish Government revisions in band weighting for residents in bands E-H, which is 54 per cent of properties, they will already see an increase in the levy between 7.5 per cent and 22.5 per cent from April 1 2017.

That works out to be between an extra £100-£500 per year.

Taking into account income of £2.88 million which will be raised from the Scottish Parliament approved revision of council tax banding weightings, the Labour-run council needs to find an additional £9.8m in funding.

After the budget meeting, council leader John McGinty said: “Although the Scottish Government has provided Scottish councils with some flexibility around council tax this year, any further increases in council tax would fall far short of what is needed to plug our budget gap of £9.8million and significant budget cuts would still be needed.

“We have taken the decision therefore not to raise council tax further because we recognise that finances remain tight for families not just councils, and it delivers on a promise made to West Lothian Council taxpayers.”

The council will invest £398m to deliver local services and is providing a commitment to consult West Lothian residents on future decisions, including council tax, over the next five years.

It has earmarked an additional £150m to be invested in education, over £101m on social services and around £56m on maintaining West Lothian’s roads, paths and waste services, community facilities and infrastructure.

In addition to budget reduction measures, the council will also use £3m of reserves to balance their budget in 2017/18.