Water dis­counts for peo­ple who live alone at risk

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

A pro­posal to scrap the sin­gle per­son’s dis­count for water charges is still un­der con­sid­er­a­tion, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has con­firmed.

How­ever, Min­is­ters are not plan­ning to re­view the Coun­cil Tax dis­count granted to peo­ple who live alone.

There had been claims in the na­tional press that the SNP planned a `tax raid on mid­dle class Scots’with Coun­cil Tax dis­counts for sin­gle oc­cu­pancy and empty homes un­der threat.

At Holy­rood this week , Mid Scot­land and Fife Tory Alexan­der Ste­wart ques­tioned the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s Min­is­ter Kate Forbes on the mat­ter.

Ms Forbes said the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment had no plans to re­view the sin­gle per­son dis­count for Coun­cil Tax but, in re­la­tion to water charges, in­di­cated there would be fur­ther re­search into the pro­posal.

A con­sul­ta­tion on water ser­vices pro­vi­sion last year ar­gued there was no ser­vice-re­lated cost jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for pro­vid­ing dis­counts for sin­gle oc­cu­pancy or empty homes as drainage costs were not de­pen­dent on the num­ber of oc­cu­pants in a prop­erty.

Mr Ste­wart said: “Many of my con­stituents across Stir­ling­shire rely on that dis­count and any al­lowance such as this is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant for pen­sion­ers on fixed in­comes.”

An SNP spokesper­son ac­cused Mr Ste­wart of scare­mon­ger­ing.

“The SNP Gov­ern­ment of­fers as­sis­tance to house­holds on low in­comes with charges for lo­cal ser­vices,” she said. “The Coun­cil Tax Re­duc­tion Scheme means that 500,000 house­holds across Scot­land have had their Coun­cil Tax re­duced or elim­i­nated en­tirely.”

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