A proposed 3% rise in council tax in Fife should be scrapped, the leader of the region’s Conservative Party has said.
Councillor Dave Dempsey said that plans by the Labour-led administration to introduce the rise at Thursday’s budget meeting are unnecessary and will stretch households already struggling to make ends meet.
The proposed rise, the first in the levy for a decade, will see a 3% increase for all property bands, in addition to a Scottish Government imposed hike for homes in bands E to H.
However, noting the scale of savings elsewhere in the administration’s proposals, Mr Dempsey said that there was no need to raid the pockets of householders.
He said: “When we saw Labour’s offering last week, we noted that it balanced the books and had £6.34 million spare because that had arrived very late from the Scottish Government.
“We took the view that the best thing was to give it back to the taxpayers.
“Those in Band E to H houses will be paying more anyway, a lot more in some cases.
“Those in Band A to D houses will include many for whom any rise is a blow. So we’ve removed the 3% rise.”
Mr Dempsey also said that repairing the region’s roads was a priority for his party, calling for additional funding by scrapping proposals to build three replacement care homes in Anstruther, Methil and Cupar.
He added: “It’s essential that the council fixes the roads because no-one else will.
“Against that, it’s not essential that the council builds new care homes as it’s a small provider within a large pool and others will take up any slack, so we propose to cancel any future new builds and pour the money saved into potholes.”
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have also call for more funds to be spent on improving roads, up from Labour’s £16 million in the next two years to £20 million.
Unlike the Conservatives, the party has also welcomed the plans to replace care homes, with leader Tim Brett saying: “We are pleased that the administration has accepted that there is a need to replace both the Cupar and Anstruther care homes as well as Methilhaven in Methil.
“We also hope that additional housing provision can be made so that the care village concept, which has been provided in Kirkcaldy and will also be provided at the other new care home sites in Fife, can be included in both Cupar and Anstruther.”