South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway Council budget proposal deadline looms

Council HQ Image copyright Google

The deadline is set to pass for political groups to table their spending plans for Dumfries and Galloway Council.

A full meeting of the local authority is due to debate its budget and council tax levels next week.

Political groups - including the Labour administration - must submit their proposals by Wednesday evening.

Subject to financial checks they should then be published on Friday ahead of next week's meeting.

A report to the local authority said it could raise about £1.9m by increasing the council tax by 3% - which equates to about £31 a year on a band D property.

It also highlighted that the historically low rates in the region meant it was bringing in about £6m less per year than it would by charging the national average.

In addition, it said that consultation with staff and the public had found the majority in favour of a council tax rise.

Dumfries and Galloway council tax potential impact of a 3% rise plus multiplier change to higher bands
Band 2016/17 2017/18 Increase
A £699.33 £720.31 £20.98
B £815.89 £840.37 £24.48
C £932.44 £960.42 £27.97
D £1,049.00 £1,080.47 £31.47
E £1,282.11 £1,419.62 £137.51
F £1,515.22 £1,755.76 £240.54
G £1,748.33 £2,115.92 £367.59
H £2,098.00 £2,647.15 £549.15

Overall, the council report estimates the authority faces a funding gap of about £16m in the financial year ahead.

An increase in council tax along with previously agreed savings and other measures would mean it had about £2.7m left to find.

Political groups are expected to put forward their suggestions on how to balance the books by 17:00 in order to be debated by full council on 28 February.

The Dumfries and Galloway authority will be one of the last in the country to set its budget.

The Labour administration has yet to reveal whether it intends to increase council tax in the region.

Council leader Ronnie Nicholson has pointed out that the public would see their bills rise anyway due to national increases on higher value properties and water charges.

He said they faced "tough choices" in setting their budget.

"I would like to assure all our residents in Dumfries and Galloway that no decision will be made lightly, and we will be acting in the best interests of our residents when we set the budget on 28 February," he said.

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