SNP veto on Council Tax rise

Cllr Donald Manford
Cllr Donald Manford

The SNP group at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has rejected plans to impose a 3 per cent council tax rise on the people of the islands.

Cllr Donald Manford put forward an amendment to the Comhairle’s motion at yesterday’s budget setting meeting calling for no increase.

He said people were already struggling financially.

Cllr Manford said: “The Comhairle is imposing this additional burden on households when people are already struggling to make ends meet. The fact is that the council does have funds available due to underspends which should be used to provide the services which are the responsibility of the council to provide.

“The extra money provided by the Scottish Government far exceeds the money which will be gained by the rise in council tax.

“The Western Isles may have the lowest level of council tax, but it also has the lowest average wage in the country and the SNP group feel this additional burden on the community is unnecessary”

The SNP amendment also proposed a report be brought before the Comhairle on the reintroduction of an air service between Barra and Benbecula – two issues were included as one amendment due to constitutional rules regarding the suspension of standing orders.

Cllr Manford said he was aware that many councillors would have supported the proposal had it been in a single amendment but due to constitutional constraints this had not been possible.

The amendment was defeated as councillors voted 22 -6 in favour of the council tax rise.

A report on the potential for a Barra-Benbecula service is to be brought back to councillors at a future meeting in response to the SNP Group amendment.