Labour vote against council tax help for most needy


SNP MSP Mike MacKenzie has expressed disappointment at Labour’s decision to vote against the Scottish Government’s Council Tax Reduction scheme, which uses the Parliament’s powers to replace council tax benefit and protect over half a million households from Westminster’s cuts.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee, Labour did not back the regulations necessary to pass the policy.

Last year, the Scottish Government and COSLA agreed to jointly invest around £40m a year to protect over half a million people across the country who would have been affected by the cut, including:

As of September 2013 547,860 were receiving Council Tax reductions, of this:

·         209,890 were aged 65+

·         91,820 are lone parents

·         283,290 are single female households

Commenting, Mike Mackenzie MSP, who sits on the committee, said:

“I was proud to back the SNP Government’s efforts with COSLA to support some of the poorest households with their council tax bills. Alongside the council tax freeze this support is essential and is under attack from the Westminster Government.

“This is not the first time Labour has voted against help for people who would otherwise be hit by UK cuts to funding for council tax benefit – they did so at the same committee in December last year.

“The funding to support over 500,000 people who would be affected is part of a partnership between the Scottish Government and local authorities across Scotland.

“But the support is only necessary because of Westminster cuts that are hitting the poorest hardest. Only a Yes vote will ensure that the Scottish Parliament no longer has to mop up the mess of bad Westminster policies that don’t work for Scotland.”