Edinburgh households to pay £600 more in council tax rise

Council tax is is to rise for the four top bands. Picture stock image
Council tax is is to rise for the four top bands. Picture stock image
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HOUSEHOLDS across Edinburgh can expect to pay up to £600 more council tax than they did last financial year, the Evening News can reveal.

Our sums lay bare the changes expected to be ushered through in April – and the impact they will have on the pockets of residents across the Capital.

Those in the highest tax band – band H – can expect to shell out £2950 annually, up from £2338 last financial year.

That’s the equivalent of £11 extra a week.

Meanwhile, those in the lowest band – band A – are set to be hit with a bill totalling £803, up from £779.

Those in the average tax band – band D – should prepare to pay £1204, up from £1169.

MSPs voted to increase the top four bands of council tax last year – despite widespread criticism that the Scottish Government had failed to make radical changes to a “discredited system”.

Under the new changes council tax will still be based on the value of a property in 1991 – meaning many homes could be in the wrong band.

The Scottish Assessors’ Association estimated that a revaluation of properties would cost up to £7 million, and take two to three years.

But politicians are reluctant to carry this out as it could be “politically challenging to deliver” – as many households would see their bills rise.

Edinburgh has the highest number of properties in the top four bands of council tax, Scottish Government figures show.

Meanwhile, the end of the council tax freeze means next April is likely to see bills rise across the Capital for the first time in nine years.

City bosses are currently looking to increase council tax by the maximum of three per cent in a bid to raise extra cash for vital services.

Council leader Andrew Burns previously said the Scottish Government’s budget – announced on December 15 – would hand the authority a funding cut of up to 2.5 per cent.

He insisted the resulting cash shortfall would force city leaders to go ahead with the three per cent tax rise – as well as planned spending reductions and job losses.

But a final decision on the matter won’t be made until the budget is set in stone next month.

Councillor Alasdair Rankin, the city’s finance leader, emphasised public support for raising taxes amid a tough economic climate.

Councillor Rankin said: “We have included an assumption in our budget planning of 
an increase in council tax of three per cent from April this year.

“This will give us a greater ability to sustain key services for Edinburgh residents at a time of rising demand.

“Our engagement on the budget with the public has shown us that the public support this rise, both through our survey last year and at this year’s Question Time event in November.”

He added: “Councillors will make a decision when they set the budget for 2017/18 in February.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com