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Perth and Kinross Council Tax rise ‘another devastating blow’ for households

Perth and Kinross Council Tax
Perth and Kinross Council Tax will rise by 2.5%.

The 2.5% council tax rise for Perth and Kinross is “another devastating blow” for households already struggling.

That’s according to Kinross foodbank Broke Not Broken, who says the increase will be harmful to people in the area.

The charity says it will not only add financial strain, but also emotional strain amid the rising cost of living.

Broke Not Broken
Annie McCormack and Susan Mitchell of Broke Not Broken. Picture: Kenny Smith.

The council tax increase was agreed at Perth and Kinross Council budget meeting on Wednesday.

And it means households in band D will be paying £33 more a year.

But councillors restricted the rise to 2.5% instead of the proposed 4.25% amid the impact of the pandemic and inflation.

Financial and emotional strain

Broke Not Broken provides support through its foodbank and local advice hub.

It also offers counselling services to help people with their mental health.

It believes the council tax rise will be hugely detrimental to local people and add pressure to support services.

Chairperson Anne McCormack said: “The increase in council tax in Perth and Kinross is going to be yet another devastating blow to people who are already on their knees.

“It will be further financial strain, but also an extra emotional strain on households and families.

It will harm adults and children living and working across Perth and Kinross.”

Annie McCormack, Broke Not Broken.

“I’m really not sure how much more people can take.

“With the Scottish Government giving £150 council tax rebate to bands A-D, then PKC taking away 2.5% extra across the board, it seems like there isn’t a great joined up approach to helping people who need it most.

“It will also add more pressure onto the groups and charities like ours who are already seeing increasing numbers accessing our support.

“After the increase in National Insurance, loss of the universal credit uplift, increasing food and energy prices, it feels like a pile on of pressure.

“It will harm adults and children living and working across Perth and Kinross.”

Locals urged to seek support

And amid the additional cost, Perth and Kinross residents are being encouraged to seek support if needed.

Perth’s Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) branch says it realises the additional strain the council tax rise puts many household under.

Chief executive Jane Adams said: “There’s no doubt that many households in Perthshire are struggling financially right now.

“This winter has been a very dangerous moment, with furlough and other support measures coming to an end, just at the same time as these massive hikes in energy bills and the £20 cut to Universal Credit.

Citizens Advice Bureau
Citizens Advice Bureau, Perth. Picture: Steve MacDougall.

“The Council Tax rise has to be seen in that context.

“Our message to people is that your local CAB is here to help.

“If you are struggling financially or if you’re in debt, come and talk to our expert money advisers.

“We won’t judge you, we just want to help.”

She added: “We can find benefits or grants you are entitled to but may not know about, and we can talk to your creditors and re-arrange your debt re-payments to make them affordable for you.”

What does the council say?

In response to the concerns, council leader Murray Lyle said: “We know how difficult the pandemic and cost-of-living pressures are making it for many households and so councillors agreed to restrict the Council Tax rise to 2.5%, rather than 4.25%.

“We anticipate this will be one of the lowest rises in the country.

“This will allow us to continue supporting families and communities and promote the economic wellbeing of Perth and Kinross.

“The pandemic has been extremely challenging for businesses and helping them recover is critical.

“We are committed to making Perth and Kinross a better place to live and work and this Budget will help us do that.”

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