Almost half Moray’s council tax used to service debts

Moray spends 44% of its tax income on servicing debts.
Moray spends 44% of its tax income on servicing debts.

ALMOST HALF THE Council Tax income received by Moray Council goes straight back out in servicing long-term debt to the UK Treasury and private banks.

Now Moray Greens are calling for local authority debt to be written off after the publication this week of shocking figures showing the crippling repayments being faced by Scotland’s Town Halls.

The Local Government Debt in Scotland report revealed that Moray Council has £156million in long term debt that includes loans from the Treasury and private banks – that results in 44% of Council Tax income being required to service the repayments.

Many councils are facing interest rates on the debts of up to 9% – and have found themselves trapped after taking out high-risk loans from banks.

James MacKessack-Leitch, Convener of Moray Greens, said: “With another squeezed Council budget on the horizon, I know Moray Taxpayers will be gobsmacked to learn that the equivalent of almost half of their Council Tax payments are going to service debt, and not funding services.

“It’s utter nonsense for the council to use such a high proportion of Council Tax revenue to deal with UK Treasury loans, which are taxpayer funded anyway, let alone enrich the private banks that caused the current financial mess.

“We need to cancel these debts so the Council can focus on protecting local services, and where substantial investment is necessary we must improve oversight so councils aren’t forced into high-risk, high-cost loans in future.”

A COSLA spokesman said: “Councils are extremely responsible with regard to borrowing money and they work to a code in managing their borrowing.”