Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has welcomed an announcement from the Scottish Government to fund a Council Tax freeze for the next 4 years.
The announcement from Finance Cabinet Secretary John Swinney means that the average Highland council tax payers will save up to £251 over the next 4 years.
Mr Gibson said....
"This announcement means that Council tax levels in 2009-10-11 will be the same as they were in 2007. The notional increase for the next 4 year in Highland Council was 22%.
"This is great news form John Swinney and the SNP Government. I am sure that it will be welcomed by hard pressed families throughout the Highlands. Especially at this time of economic strife."
"It is a refreshing change from the record of the Liberal Democrats and Labour. Under the Lib/Lab Executive Council Tax in the Highlands rose by around a massive 77%. Since the SNP have become to power it has risen by 0%. Indeed average council tax payers can look forward to a saving of £251 over the next 4 years."
Mr Gibson also welcomed the reaffirmation by John Swinney that the SNP was determined to scrap the unfair Council Tax and will seek a majority mandate in 2011 to ensure the final abolition of the tax and the introduction of a system based on ability to pay which would ensure the biggest tax cut in a generation for low and middle income families the substantial saving.
He also launched an attack on the alliance of Labour and the Conservatives which effectively brought an end to plans to scrap the Council tax in this parliament.
"The SNP minority Government could not pass the Local Income Tax (LIT) legislation because both Labour and the Tories see nothing wrong with the continuation of the Council Tax."
"It is a shame that they take this stance as LIT would have seen savings to two thirds of the population. In effect they have denied savings of £390 to single pensioners whilst pensioner couples are been denied savings of £730. LIT could have saved families between £150 and £280. Labour and Conservatives have ensured that today is a bad day for families and pensioners in the Highlands and Scotland."
"Thanks to this Labour/Tory pact 85,000 people will remain in relative poverty - including 15,000 children.
"The SNP is determined to ensure that the Labour/Tory pact does not succeed and that pensioners and families in the Highlands can enjoy a fair system of local taxation based on the ability pay."