Tax Relief

West Lothian Council tax relief will reduce £2-a-week from payments

A last minute intervention by Westminster will cut council tax bills by an average of £2.15 a week in West Lothian.

The Scottish Budget Bill approved last week confirmed funding of £280 million to provide £150 to every household in receipt of Council Tax Reduction in any Band and to provide £150 to all other occupied households in Bands A to D.

READ MORE: West Lothian Council rents set to rise by £2.35 a week amid concern over cost of living

The £2.15 cut will be to Band D properties.

The council tax rise agreed by West Lothian Council this week is 3%. Prior to the Westminster announcement that would have meant a Band D property in the county would have seen a charge of £1,314.71 per year for more than 71,000 homes . The 3% increase equates to an extra 74p per week for a Band D property.

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If Council Tax had been frozen in 2022/23, the council would have had to reduce spending by a further £2.7 million, which would also have further implications for future years as the costs add on to future budgets.

The SNP argued that, along with rents, the council tax is one of the few direct levies the council controls and thus one of the few direct ways it can help those struggling with rising bills.

Depute SNP group leader Frank Anderson pointed out during the budget debates on a rent increase of 3% this would mean that families would be losing an extra £155 a year from both increased rent and council tax increases – wiping out the effects of having £150 taken off the council tax bill.

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Outlining council tax increases in a paper to an earlier meeting of the Partnership and Resources PDSP depute chief executive Graeme Struthers pointed out mitigating factors against council tax bills. Although council tax is applied to all houses, not all households are eligible to pay council tax. There are exemptions and discounts in place to reduce the tax burden for the most vulnerable in society as well as protecting low income households.

In West Lothian 2,824 Volume D properties are in receipt of some kind of exemption or discount; the council also has set aside £425,000 for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) to support those in need. Any increase in council tax will be fully offset by an increase in CTRS, as long as the claimant’s circumstances remain the same.

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