By Bill Heaney

The SNP must axe its planned council tax bombshell Scottish Labour has demanded, after an analysis by the party revealed that it could hit over 80,000 low-income households.

Relying on the Scottish Government’s own poverty analysis, Labour has warned that 13.7% of low-income households live in a dwelling with a council tax band E+.  This is equivalent to 108,200 households.

While some of these may be exempt or have reductions to their council tax bill through the Council Tax Reduction benefit, the most recent figures show that there are only 23,060 recipients of CTR living in Band E-H.

Combined, these figures suggest 80,000-85,000 low-income households could be hit by the hike to council tax bands proposed by the SNP.

In contrast, 38% of the households in the highest income decile, the wealthiest 10% of households, live in Band A-D which would not have an increase imposed under the SNP’s regressive plans.

The SNP Government is proposing council tax rises of up to 22% in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis that is seeing bills soaring across the board – all to pay for their own failure to manage the public finances. 

Scottish households are paying for the failure of two bad governments, as the Tory mortgage bombshell has sent monthly payments soaring because of rapid interest rate increases.

Ordinary Scots are not to blame and many on fixed incomes will simply be unable to pay for these deeply regressive SNP proposals.

Scottish Labour local government spokesperson Mark Griffin MSP, right, said: “The SNP’s council tax bombshell is a tax rise on 80,000 of the poorest households during a cost-of-living crisis – it is an attack on working people that would make Rishi Sunak proud. 

“Years of brutal cuts by the SNP have left local councils at breaking point, and now the government wants to plug the gaps with eye-watering Council Tax hikes on some the poorest Scots while many wealthy families would pay nothing.

“It is a scandal that the Scots earning the least are once again being asked to pay more while getting less in return.

“Families struggling with rising housing costs should be getting support from their government – but instead they are being asked to foot the bill for the SNP’s failure.

“Labour will stand up for people struggling with soaring living costs and fight for a fair deal for working people.”

Leader of the Scottish Labour group on COSLA, Cllr David Ross said: “Under the SNP, our councils have been cut to the bone.

“The SNP-Green government now want council taxpayers , some of whom are the poorest in Scotland, to make up for their failure to properly fund vital local services.”

The SNP were elected to government 16 years ago on an explicit promise to scrap the Council Tax.

Proposals from COSLA and the SNP Scottish Government would repeat the increases imposed in 2017, meaning council tax would increase by 7.5%, 12.5%, 17.5% and 22.5% for properties valuation Bands E, F, G and H respectively if the rates for Band D properties remained unchanged.

Scottish Government analysis published in 2022 of the proportion and number of households within each income decile and council tax band suggests that as many as 108,200 households within the lowest three income deciles live in properties eligible for council tax Band E and above. Most recent council tax reduction figures for 2022-23 indicate what only 23,060 households in these bands are in receipt of council tax reduction. (Taking account of survey data samples) this suggests that as many as 80,000-85,000 low income households could be impacted by the proposed rises to council tax in Bands E-H. In contrast, 38% or as many as 142,600 households in the highest income decile could avoid the rise as they live in Bands A-D.

Council tax band composition within each income decile
Council tax band   1     2     3     10  
A 33% 34% 31% 5%
B 24% 28% 29% 8%
C 14% 15% 16% 9%
D 12% 11% 11% 16%
E 8% 8% 8% 23%
F 5% 3% 3% 18%
G 3% 1% 2% 18%
H, I 0% 0% 0% 3%
All 100% 100% 100% 100%
Total Number of Households in Decile  270,000     250,000   250,000  

Households in Band E+ 43,200 31,200 33,800 142,600

Source: Scottish Government Additonal Poverty Analysis 2022 2. Households by income decile and council tax band: Tab AHC, analysis of table a) and d)

As of 2022-23 there were 23,060 households within Band E-H in receipt of council tax reduction

Source: Council Tax Reduction in Scotland 22-23


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