In the Scottish Parliament this morning, Labour voted against the Scottish Government’s Council Tax Reduction scheme, which used the Parliament’s powers to replace council tax benefit and protect around half a million households from Westminster’s 10 per cent cut in council tax benefit.
During today’s meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee, Labour did not back the regulations necessary to pass the policy.
If Labour had been successful, Scotland’s poorest would have lost out on the £40m funding plug – equivalent to around £75 for each household affected.
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:
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.
“Labour should be ashamed of their actions which, if they had been successful, would have hit Scotland’s poorest the hardest and seen their bills increase by an average of £75 a year.
“Labour demands that Scotland use the powers we already have to mitigate against Westminster welfare cuts but when the Scottish Government uses those powers, as it has done with the council tax benefit, Labour tries to derail it.
“This is not the first time Labour has used parliamentary committees to attempt to wreck the SNP Government’s actions to protect the vulnerable people affected by Westminster’s cut in council tax benefit.
“Our Council Tax Reduction Scheme is protecting over half a million people in Scotland from the abolition of council tax benefit – that's pensioners, families, single person households and disabled people.
“It is only because the SNP has a majority in Parliament that we have been able to protect the integrity of the council tax freeze policy – we believe in fairness, and with the limited powers available to the Scottish Parliament, we have done everything we can to mitigate the impact the devastating effects of Westminster’s welfare cutting policies.”