Comment: Time to lift council tax freeze?

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there is no doubt that the council tax freeze we have all enjoyed for the past eight years has been one of the SNP’s great successes.

At a time when household budgets have been severely squeezed it has been an enormous relief for so many of us to see one of our larger bills kept under tight control.

The prospect of seeing that bill rise – to an average of £1621 – is hardly going to have people dancing in the streets. Turkey voting for Christmas and all that.

But how many of us will seriously demur after all these years of restraint on our local tax bills?

The shift in public debate towards discussing the politics of austerity has brought with it a growing recognition of the role we all play in funding public services.

No-one likes paying more tax. Obviously.

But the bottom line that we all have to accept is that if we want decent local services – and we undoubtedly do – then, one way or another, we have to pay for them.

Well-maintained roads, high-quality care for the elderly, good schools with pupils taught in safe conditions, they all cost a lot of money.

There is no doubt that local government needed to become a lot more efficient when the council tax freeze began in 2008.

It has come a long way since and is getting better – but it still has a long way to go when it comes to delivering value for money.

The city council still gives the impression that it does not have the stomach for some of the tougher decisions which would yield the biggest savings without damaging public services.

The Capital’s councillors are still rebuilding the authority’s battered good name following the tram building debacle and other scandals.

The time may have come to consider lifting the council tax freeze.

But first of all the city has to demonstrate that it really is serious about delivering value for money for the taxpayers.