Edinburgh tourist tax given go ahead by Scottish Government
An 11th hour deal has been agreed between the Scottish Government and the Greens which will ensure Holyrood’s £34bn annual budget is passed today.
Radical new powers to raise tax will be handed to local councils as part of the deal with Patrick Harvie’s party which was finalised less than an hour before Mr Mackay addressed MSPs at Holyrood.
Councils will be given the power to introduce a “tourist tax” as well as a new levy on workplace parking, along with new controls over rates relief, in the agreement set out today.
An additional £90 million of funding has also been found to boost council budgets which were facing major cuts, along with the ability to raise an extra £97 million through higher council tax hikes and new flexibility in socal care spending.
Mr Mackay said today: “The Scottish Government has continued to ensure our partners in local government receive a fair funding settlement despite further cuts to the Scottish Budget from the UK Government. These additional measures will deliver the most significant empowerment of local authorities since devolution and provide additional funding to support local services.
“This enhanced package offers up to £187 million of increased funding and flexibility to councils, on top of the £11.1 billion local government settlement. In total overall spending power for local authorities next year will be £620 million higher than it is currently.”
Mr Harvie says the deal will close the £237m gap in council funding, identified by the local government body COSLA.
Mr Harvie said: “The public rely on local services such as schools and social care, and local facilities such as sports centres and libraries. Today’s Green budget deal means councils can protect these services and the jobs of front line workers.
“It’s welcome that after consistent Green pressure the SNP Government have seen sense and committed to immediate action and longer-term reform.
“Scottish Greens will always be firm but constructive in these situations. Scrapping the Tories’ Council Tax and giving Councils more powers is a historic victory. All parties now have an opportunity to help bring about a fairer system of funding essential local services.”