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Argyll and Bute Council has defended its decision to collect council tax as usual despite a reduction in services as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The local authority says there is help for anyone who has trouble paying their council tax but priority must be given to ‘vital services’.
Some local authorities have announced changes to their council tax payment regulations during the COVID-19 crisis, while members of others have called for such action to be implemented.
However, Argyll and Bute Council says there will be no blanket break for residents during the pandemic as the funds are needed to keep key services going.
Jackie Baillie MSP, whose Dumbarton constituency includes the Helensburgh and Lomond area of Argyll and Bute, called last week for the authority to change the ‘council tax break’ months in its calendar from February and March to April and May.
Councillors recently voted to increase Argyll and Bute’s council tax rates by 4.5 per cent as part of the annual budget-setting process for the 2020/21 financial year.
The budget was decided before UK government measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus were enforced.
A council spokesperson said: ‘Vital services that our communities need every day continue to need funding so we will be asking people to pay their council tax.
‘We recognise this is a difficult time for many people financially and as always will be keen to support anyone who has difficulty paying it at this time.
‘Our Caring for People helpline number is 01546 605524. For health advice please call the NHS on 08000 282816 or visit www.nhsinform.scot.’
Elsewhere in Scotland, one Glasgow City Council member has called for his authority’s administration to suspend council tax while the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing.
The city council website states council tax payers who can make their payments should continue to do so.
Meanwhile, East Ayrshire Council has stated it will not take legal action against those unable to pay council tax during the crisis.
People in that region are also able to sign up for reduced council tax payments if they have lost their jobs.
It was also reported last week the Scottish Government has set aside £50million to help Scots who are struggling to pay council tax during the enforced lockdown.