A hike in Council Tax and rises across many council services except those ring fenced by the Scottish Government has been agreed to by councillors in Orkney.
James Stockan, Leader of Orkney Islands Council is disappointed that the Scottish Government is only providing £5.3million towards the funding of the inter islands ferry service. This is £200,000 less than last year and comes after the Scottish Government reached an agreement with the Scottish Greens in order to get their Budget through. The revised Budget which saw extra money going to local authorities across Scotland meant cuts were made in other parts of the Budget.
Only the Scottish Greens took part in negotiations with the Scottish Government – Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrat MSPs did not participate.
Orkney Islands Council had asked for £6.5million to help fund the internal ferry service. The amount coming from the Scottish Budget is £1.5million less than OIC require for the year ahead.
James Stockan said:
“This is a considerable disappointment for us and leaves the Council in a very difficult position.
“The amount we requested would have covered the full running costs of the inter-island ferry service over the next 12 months, taking into account factors such as inflation and the ever-increasing burden of operating an ageing fleet of vessels.
“We were left with little option but to increase Orkney Ferries’ fares by 3% for the year ahead. This will help offset the reduction in Government funding. But it was a decision taken with a heavy heart, because we are all too aware that our fares are among the highest in Scotland and that this will be a burden for already vulnerable communities.
“We will continue to fight for fair and just funding for our lifeline inter-island ferry service.”
The Full Council set the Budget for 2019-2020
- 3% increase in ferry fares
- £83.7 million for running Council services .
- Savings target of £350,000
- £6.1 million drawn down from the Council’s reserves.
- Council Tax charges to rise by 4.79%, increasing the Band D annual charge from £1100 to £1153.
- Fees and charges for Council services to increase by at least 3% from 1 April. Exceptions are fees for planning applications and building warrants, licensing, trade waste collections, and social care charges that are set by legislation.
- New charges to be introduced for electric vehicle charging; replacement refuse bins; collecting and kennelling stray dogs; planning permission amendments; and caravans, motorhomes and tents using carparks and other Council land.
- Above-average increases in charges for longer-than-permitted stays at car parks; special collections and disposal of bulky household waste (but not in the North and South Isles); and road closures for road works.
The decision that Council Tax bills in Orkney should increase by 4.79% from April 1 will bring in an additional £415,800 in revenue for OIC. An increase in the number of Band D properties will result in an additional income of £142,200, with a surcharge on empty properties expected to raise £67,700 over the year ahead.
Council Tax Charges for Orkney 2019 – 2020