1. ITV Report

Council tax hike for Dumfries & Galloway

Protestors gather outside Dumfries & Galloway Council HQ Photo: ITV Border

Councillors have voted for a three per cent council tax rise in Dumfries and Galloway.

The council's Labour administration says it proposed the increase in order to close a £16m funding gap and wants to ring fence the income raised for education.

Councillors backed the Labour budget by 29 votes to 16 at a meeting in Dumfries today.

Protestors gathered outside the meeting to raise concerns about social care spending.

Lesley Jeffrey is a parent carer and is protesting with the Right to a Real Life Campaign. The group is against the amount of income allowance that people under 60 can keep before charges. Campaign supporters say they want to see more money invested in social care.

"As previously warned today's council budget was always going to be very difficult but the three per cent rise in council tax was absolutely necessary.

"It's because of the funding gap imposed on us by the Scottish Government. In some cases peoples' council tax will only rise by £20 and we have had it frozen since 2005.

"Unfortunately this is just the start of things to come."

– Cllr Ronnie Nicholson, Leader of Dumfries & Galloway Council

The council's SNP group welcomed money earmarked in the budget for tackling poverty but criticised the Labour administration over unspent money.

"We fully welcome the money being proposed for the anti-poverty strategy however there's currently still more than £1m in funding given by the Scottish Government which has not yet been used.

"The council are all talk and no action. I struggle to believe that we would have as many people in poverty if this money had been used."

– Cllr Jim McClung, SNP