East Renfrewshire Council leader blasts MSP in council tax row

Cllr Tony Buchanan (right) has hit back at criticism of East Renfrewshire's council tax levels by Maurice Golden MSP.
Cllr Tony Buchanan (right) has hit back at criticism of East Renfrewshire's council tax levels by Maurice Golden MSP.

East Renfrewshire Council’s leader has hit back over claims that council tax is a postcode lottery in Scotland.

Councillor Tony Buchanan rubbished suggestions by Tory MSP Maurice Golden that residents were the victims of the SNP’s high tax policies.

And he pointed to the fact that council tax band levels in his authority were lower than the national average.

Mr Golden insisted that the council had been let down by the Scottish Government over funding.

But Mr Buchanan hit back, saying: “All local authorities have increased council tax by three per cent. In terms of East Renfrewshire, we’re still below the Scottish average.

“The reality is that the Scottish Government has mitigated rises for as long as it could.

“If you look at English local authorities the rises have been significantly higher, you’re looking at anywhere between six and 10 per cent.”

Statistics released by the Scottish Government last week revealed that East Renfrewshire had the highest average council tax per household.

East Renfrewshire residents pay, on average, £1459-per-year on council tax – well above the £1106 Scottish average.

It comes despite band D residents paying £1195 compared to the £1208 Scottish average for the same band.

Mr Golden continued: “It is unfair and unacceptable that taxpayers across Scotland are facing a postcode lottery when it comes to council tax bills as a result of SNP cuts to local authorities.

“Local taxpayers are bearing the brunt as councils scramble for money to protect local services.

“This geographical disparity which will hit taxpayers East Renfrewshire is just rubbing salt into the wounds in the SNP’s high tax Scotland,” he added.

Last month councillors agreed plans to raise council tax by three per cent across all bands in East Renfrewshire.

As of this month, residents in band A have been paying £796, that’s up from £773. And residents in band H now spend £2926 – an increase of £85 a year.