First Minister Humza Yousaf and Labour’s finance spokesman Michael Marra.

By Lucy Ashton

Humza Yousaf’s chaotic u-turn on council tax shows that the SNP has ‘lost the plot’ and is governing without competence, Scottish Labour has said today.

Despite threatening to hike council tax on around 80,000 of the poorest households in Scotland, Humza Yousaf has binned the policy and announced a council tax freeze that he cannot enforce.

Since then, it has come to light that the civil service was not informed of Mr Yousaf’s u-turn before the policy was announced – leading to uproar in government circles.

To add insult to injury, neither Scotland’s councils – who are now set to be starved of cash – nor the Scottish Cabinet were consulted.

The SNP government is now announcing major policy on the hoof.

The Scottish Fiscal Commission has previously projected the Scottish Government is staring down the barrel at a £1 billion black hole this year.

That was before the First Minister’s speech which contained well in excess of half a billion pounds of additional spending.

The Fraser of Allander Institute has costed a council tax freeze at £417 million with additional commitments for culture and more coming in at over £100m over coming years.

The SNP’s black hole in public finances was previously projected as growing to £1.9 billion per annum by as early as 2027-28. Given the accelerating chaos in the management of taxpayer’s money Scottish Labour has accused the SNP of ‘losing the plot’.

Scottish Labour finance spokesperson Michael Marra said: “This chaotic and divided SNP government is making it up as it goes along.

“After spending months threatening brutal Council Tax hikes, Humza Yousaf has performed a screeching u-turn without giving any warning to Councils or even his own government.

“After 16 years of broken promises and incompetence, Scots are no doubt losing faith in this shambolic government’s abilities to deliver any of its policies.

“The First Minister must fix this mess and tell the public how he intends to freeze Council Tax without blowing a hole in local budgets. Vital services are at immediate risk.”

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