Leaders at Aberdeenshire Council have called for an alternative to council tax that would give the authority more control of its finances.
A tax which allows the local authority to raise finances locally could provide much-needed benefits for the region – according to council leader Jim Gifford and his deputy Martin Kitts-Hayes.
Currently around 18% of the local authority’s annual budget is raised through council tax.
However, Mr Gifford said if that was increased to around 50% it would lead to a tax system that is “fair and equitable” for Aberdeenshire.
Mr Gifford said: “There is now certainly support for it. It is getting to the stage where it is just not working, we are just not accountable for the money we raise.
“We are a long, long way from where most people think we should be. We’re reliant on a huge block grant. There is just one pot of money.
“There is no direct correlation between what people get from the council and what they pay. VAT disappears into the system and we don’t seem to get it back.”
He added that the Scottish Government’s council tax freeze – implemented in 2008 – had left the council “far behind where we could have been if we could have put it up every year”.
Deputy council leader, Mr Kitts-Hayes, said: “We should be accountable for how we raise finances, not just take what we get from the Scottish Government and spend it.
“We have no control over what we spend. In terms of local accountability it is not a good thing. Council tax bands haven’t changed since the council was established.”
The Scottish Government in partnership with Cosla and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy have set up a commission looking into alternatives to council tax.
Aberdeenshire Council’s SNP group leader, Hamish Vernal, said: “The council tax is designed to help the people of Scotland, particularly those without income, and it does help. That is where my sympathies lie, in helping that group of people.
“I am behind the Scottish Government proposals. In longer terms I am behind the view we should look at how public bodies are funded.”