Plans for maximum rise in council tax will be opposed by South Lanarkshire Conservatives

SOUTH LANARKSHIRE'S Conservative councillors will oppose plans to raise the council tax by the maximum allowed three per cent.

Under proposals set to be introduced by the county’s SNP administration, April would see every household hit with the biggest possible council tax increase.

The opposition Tory group believes that level of tax hike is unjustified as it would hurt people who already struggle to get by, while bringing in very little extra money for public services.

Arguing there are better ways to protect key services, the local Conservatives have developed an alternative budget for the authority.

It makes clear a balanced budget, including more money for roads and schools, could be delivered through a combination of efficiency savings and a modest rise to council tax.

Councillor Alex Allison, the leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist group, said: “People throughout South Lanarkshire already struggle to make ends meet so the council should avoid raiding residents’ pockets for every possible penny.

“Ordinary working people in our communities were hit hard by council tax increases imposed by the nationalist government from Edinburgh last year. They are about to be hit again by the SNP’s misguided Scottish income tax rises.

“There is nothing progressive about the Scottish government’s approach, which has squeezed people living in two bedroom flats and will continue to hurt nurses, teachers, tradespeople, police officers and many others.”

He added: “Conservative councillors are determined to protect local services while delivering better value for the taxpayers’ money.

“There is no need to hit every household in South Lanarkshire with the highest tax rise the council has the power to impose.”

Administration and opposition proposals for the authority’s 2018/19 budget will be considered at a full meeting of South Lanarkshire Council on Wednesday, 28 February.

With no party holding an overall majority of members, it is likely the SNP administration will require the support of others to pass both the council tax rise and the overall budget.

Since last year’s election the now 14-strong Conservative group is the third largest on the authority. It has committed to providing robust but constructive opposition, with all proposals considered on their merits.