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COSLA president “embarrrassed” by SNP council tax changes

Cosla president David O'Neill slammed the reforms
Cosla president David O'Neill slammed the reforms

The president of the umbrella group for Scotland’s councils has branded the SNP’s tax plans “an offence against local democracy”.

Cosla president David O’Neill said Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement was a “damp squib” and criticised the fact that councils will not get a say on how to spend the extra money raised.

The first minister has ring-fenced the £100million of extra money raised so it can only be spent on education.

Mr O’Neill said: “I am saddened that yet again we have an offence against local democracy, local decision making and local choice.

“They have completely ignored the good work and recommendations of the Commission on Local Tax Reform.

“Having served on this commission in good faith, I am embarrassed about the proposals, as must be the local government minister.

“What we have before us today is a damp squib. This is nothing more than fairly poor cover for a very crude power grab, they haven’t even bothered to change the name.”

Cosla finance spokesman Councillor Kevin Keenan added: “There is nothing radical in the announcement.

“Unsurprisingly the only opportunity the government did take was to further control and centralise.

“For a government that has criticised the council tax system since coming into power in 2007 and then went to the trouble of setting up a commission to look at an alternative it is bizarre that this is the best that they could come up with.”

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