Scottish Borders residents face five per cent council tax increase

05/01/22. PA stockshot of a council tax bill. PA Images.
Residents in the Scottish Borders could see their council bill increase by five per cent in the budget. Credit: PA

Residents in the Scottish Borders could see their council tax bill increase by five per cent in the latest proposed budget.

Scottish Borders Council say the money will help to plug the "significant financial gap" in council budgets caused by inflation.

For a Band D property, the impact of the increase will be £1.24 a week.

The rise will be put forward as part of the council's budget plans for 2023/24 later this month.

A cross-party group of councillors are currently finalising a single budget proposal, but a consensus has been reached about the council tax rise, which will be presented as part of the budget plan and voted on by all councillors at a meeting on 23 February.

Councillor Euan Jardine, Leader of Scottish Borders Council, said: “A five per cent increase in council tax is just one of a number of steps which we as a cross-party budget group are proposing to bridge the growing financial gap between the money we have available and the money we need to maintain services and invest in key projects.

“Around 40 per cent of households do not pay the full rate, due to the variety of discounts and exemptions available depending on individuals’ circumstances.

“This has been very difficult for members across the political spectrum to agree on. We appreciate the pressure facing household budgets at this time, but importantly, we also recognise how many people rely on the council for a variety of essential services.

"The proposed increase will help protect vital services such as education and social work and the care and support of vulnerable people and allow investment into key areas such as school and roads and projects which our residents have told us are really important to them.”

Further details of the budget proposals will be published next week, ahead of the meeting on 23 February.

The council would use £9m on a one-off basis to manage estimated financial gaps in the years 2023/24 to 2026/27 and £3.5m would permanently contribute to closing the financial gap in 2023/24.

A further £20m is proposed to be allocated to a five-year fund targeting new technology, service changes and cost reductions to ensure the council remains financially sustainable while maintaining service standards.