Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has called on the Scottish Government to ‘pull out all the stops’ to ensure that those in debt are properly supported, as new statistics published this morning have shown a worrying spike in the number of people receiving Council Tax Reductions.
The statistics from the Scottish Government show a rise in the number of people across Scotland receiving Council Tax Reductions from 466,740 in January of this year to 500,620 by September- an increase of 33,880 people. The number of people in West Dunbartonshire receiving Council Tax Reductions has remained at around 11,350 people between November 2019 and August 2020 – this number then went up to 11,410 in September 2020. Argyll and Bute has seen a greater jump in the number of people receiving Council Tax Reductions from 6,580 people in March 2020, to 7,130 in September 2020.
With over half a million Scots now receiving Council Tax Reductions and the economic damage caused by the pandemic set to continue, Jackie Baillie is calling on the SNP government to extend its support for people in debt by offering extra resources to frontline debt advisers and extending the bankruptcy provisions beyond the emergency legislation.
Commenting, Scottish Labour finance spokesperson and deputy leader, Jackie Baillie, said:
“With over half a million Scots needing support to pay their council tax bill it is clear that much more must be done to support family finances.
“Despite the SNP promising to scrap the council tax over a decade ago, nearly half a million Scots are still struggling to pay the tax. The rises in the number of people who are receiving council tax reductions in my local area, especially the specific rises that have occurred since the COVID-19 crisis began, shows that now is the time for the Scottish Government to provide households with robust and long-lasting support.
“With the threat to household budgets only set to increase, it is vital that the SNP pulls out all the stops to help those in debt by supporting frontline debt advisers and extending bankruptcy provision beyond the emergency legislation.”