A Western Isles Councillor has called on the Scottish Government to re-consider introducing a 1p increase on income tax to alleviate the overwhelming cuts facing local authorities in Scotland.
Councillor Charlie Nicolson, who is a Member for Stornoway South, quotes from HMRC that a 1p in the pound increase would raise around £475m across Scotland which could be used to protect and enhance local services.
The impact of the increase for someone earning £15,000 a year would be less than £1 per week, whilst a £50,000 earner would pay less than £8 per week, depending on individual circumstances.
Cllr Nicolson said: “The cuts in services in the Western Isles and across Scotland will affect the most vulnerable in our communities.
“By paying slightly more in income tax, we could protect services and jobs which are vital to the economy of these islands.
“The less well-off would not have to pay any increase but would benefit from the services.
“Most people I have spoken to would be in favour of such a move which would counter the austerity programme that has meant cuts for the Scottish Government and Councils having to reduce services.
“As a Councillor I do not wish to cut any more services and I know other members feel the same.
“I would encourage our community to go to the local Public Consultation Meetings to discuss the proposals and indicate whether they would be supportive of raising Income Tax by 1p in the pound to safeguard services and to respectfully ask the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Mr Swinney, to introduce 1p in the Pound on Income Tax.”
A series of consultation meetings on the issue of budget cuts will take place throughout this week.
The first meetings take place tonight (Monday) in Barvas at Westside School at 7pm and also in Tarbert at Sir E Scott School at 7pm.
Further meetings will take place at Castlebay School, Barra on Tuesday at 7pm; Daliburgh School, South Uist and Paible School North Uist at 7pm on Wednesday, a further meeting will be held in the Council Chambers in Stornoway at 7pm on Thursday with a Facebook ‘chat’ with the Comhairle Leader planned for Friday between 7pm to 8.30pm