HOME OWNERS IN Moray could face massive increases in the Council Tax they pay if plans being outlined this week by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon come to pass.
The First Minister has said that should the SNP retain power after the Scottish Government elections next year, they would look at a “more progressive approach” in an overhaul of the council tax banding system.
That would include the introduction of two new bands at the top end – bands I and J – that would see owners of the most expensive properties paying much more than is currently the case.
Ms Sturgeon has indicated that an SNP government could change the council tax bands to echo a recent report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, which when looking at council tax bands in England suggested families living in homes currently in band H should be paying around £1500 more annually than is presently the case.
Reports suggest that would see top-band bills in Moray for homes that are valued at over £212,000 rise to around £3770 a year.
The SNP set up a cross-party commission to investigate the options for change with the final proposals from that set to appear in their manifesto ahead of May’s election.
The First Minister said: “We will see what the cross-party commission says, and I’m not saying this is going to be our policy. But you could change the bands for council tax without doing a revaluation.
“You could change the proportions between the bands as that does not depend on a revaluation. The progressive principle will run through all of the decisions we take on tax – that is true of stamp duty, it will be true of council tax or any future proposal on local government finance.”
Scottish Conservative housing spokesman Alex Johnstone hit out at any plans to add to banding to the top rate, saying that the tax burden on hard-working people is already heavy enough without threats of further increases.
He said: “The Scottish Conservatives are committed to not increasing that burden and, where possible, would like to lessen it.”