Local News

10% Increase for Council Tax in Orkney

Orkney Islands Councillors have set the budget for the islands spending for the year ahead.

There will be a 10% rise in Council Tax. For example a Band D property will now come in at £1,369.21 a year – an increase of £124.48.

Like everywhere else the OIC is impacted by the massive rise in energy costs.

The Budget this year to pay for local public services will be £101.7m. Funding is derived from:

  • £89m Scottish Government (£13.4m for ferries)
  • £17.4m from OIC reserves
  • £11.3m from the rise in Council tax.
  • £11.5m Non Domestic Rates

The setting of the OIC Budget follows on from the passing of the Scottish Budget by MSPs. More on that here: ‘Supporting people most in need’: What’s in the Scottish Budget.

The Scottish Budget increased the contribution to local authorities to cover the increase pay awards to public sector workers. There was also good news on ferry funding. Budget Good News For Orkney’s Ferries

And there is the ongoing work of the Ferry Taskforce to find workable solutions to replacing Orkney’s ageing inter islands ferry fleet. Working Together to Address Ferries Issues

Officials in Orkney are now engaged in compiling reports on how changes could be made to service provision, generating income, savings made and as a last resort, cuts.

OIC  Leader James Stockan said:

Whilst we do have our reserves, just like a household or a business, we cannot get backed into a financial corner and put ourselves in the position of paying for our day to day costs from our ‘savings account’. That ‘savings account’ needs to be used for the bigger things that we need to do like new buildings, or invested for future use.

“We know some people might find the 10% hard when other costs are increasing too, but be assured we’re doing it to help to protect those important Council services that you, your family, your friends and your neighbours, need and rely on– the more we collectively raise in council tax, the more we’re working together to protect those services for the good of everyone in Orkney.”

Orkney is a low wage economy with many people having more than one job in order to take home a viable income. The closure of many shops in the main streets of both Kirkwall and Stromness is clear evidence that many households are having to curtail their spending as they struggle to balance bills for rising rents, mortgages, council tax, energy and basic foods. It’s a spiralling upwards of increasing costs which will cut back consumer spend even more.

Household incomes via Orkney Draft Strategy 2023

Fiona Grahame

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