West Lothian ponders three per cent council tax hike

Headquarters of West Lothian Council in Livingston
Headquarters of West Lothian Council in Livingston

West Lothian should adopt a three per cent rise in council tax when it sets its budget on March 20, following several other authorities.

That’s the view of SNP councillor Peter Johnston, who says the extra cash could make a significant difference to services people care most about.

He may reflect a general view that the time is right to apply a rise, although the authority won’t comment on its plans ahead of the budget.

It’s the first time councils have had the opportunity to raise council tax in nine years, and this week most appeared set to do so, although Inverclyde has maintained a freeze.

Band E to H homes are already facing a rise because of national changes.

Councillor Johnston (Livingston South) said: “I think given it’s the first rise for nine years it is reasonable, because it would bring in £2.2 million and allow us to invest in health and social care – and do something to close the attainment gap.”

He said that taken together with £5 million to be invested in schools such a rise could make a meaningful impact on some of the area’s most pressing deficiencies.

“The money going to schools is fantastic, but a three per cent rise would make a difference to essential health and social care,” he added.

In Midlothian an average Band D home will pay an extra £36 per year, bringing it to £1.246, and West Lothian tax payers might expect something comparable.