Council Tax hike on the table

Councillors in the Western Isles are set to consider proposals for a near-5 per-cent rise in council tax levels as Comhairle nan Eilean Siar meets to set its budgets for the coming year.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s committees will consider the proposals at a series of meetings this week, with the authority saying that it is facing a reduction of funding for its core services of £0.9m.
In a statement, the Comhairle has claimed that although this year’s proposed funding from the Scottish Government includes an increase in funding, the extra funds include new ring-fenced monies for Health and Social Care and for an expansion in Early Years education provision, which, the Comhairle claims amounts to a cut in its budget for core services. Comhairle figures show that the proposed council tax hike would mean a rise of just over £1 per week for three-quarters of local households, reducing the deficit faced by the Comhairle by £187k
In addition, a report by the Comhairle’s Policy and Resources committee later this week will set-out proposals for £2.6m of service savings, which, together with the proposed increases in council tax, will still require the authority to use £1.6m of its balances to break even.    
The authority has also stated that with reductions in its budget for capital projects, has left a £5.2m hole in its funding, and a comprehensive review of the programme of works planned for 2018-23 will now be undertaken.
The budget figures are subject approval by the Scottish Parliament which is not due for completion until March 5th, and changes to the plans may yet be approved.

But, with the UK Budget not due until 11 March further impacts on the Scottish Budget might also occur.