I SUSPECT the Tele’s headline of a 16 per cent council tax rise may have confused your correspondent Bryan Wright (Postbag, January 31).

The council is not considering a 16 per cent rise in 2024/25. We are consulting on two options: a council tax freeze or a nine per cent increase.

There is a planning assumption that council tax could rise by seven per cent in 2025/26, but no decision on the 2025/26 increase will be taken until February 2025.

We are hoping that over the coming weeks the Scottish Government can be persuaded to give councils, including Inverclyde, a better funding settlement so that we can reduce the amount of cuts we have to make and any council tax rise in 2024/25, if we decide to implement one.

Maybe your readers, including Mr Wright, could lobby their local MSPs Stuart McMillan and Natalie Don for this.

It is worth however reminding readers of the history of council tax rises since the SNP came to power in Scotland in May 2007, which coincidentally is when I first became council leader.

Between 2008 and 2017 council tax was frozen for nine years as a prelude to replacing it with a fairer alternative.

In 2017/18 there was a three per cent cap on council tax rises, but Inverclyde did not increase it as due to changes made by the Scottish Government those households in Bands E to H were already facing increases of between 7.5 per cent and 22.5 per cent.

In 2018/19 there was a council tax cap of three per cent and Inverclyde raised council tax by three. In 2019/20 there was a cap of 4.79 per cent and our increase was 4.79 per cent.

In 2020/21 there was a cap of 4.84 per cent and the Inverclyde increase was three per cent. In 2021/22 council tax was frozen again at the request of the Scottish Government.

In 2022/23 there was no cap on council tax rises and the Inverclyde increase was 1.95 per cent. The highest increase in Scotland was four per cent.

There was no cap again in 2023/24 and the Inverclyde increase was 5.3 per cent. The highest increase in Scotland was 10 per cent.

So, over the last 16 years the Band D council tax, which the council sets, was frozen in 11 of those years and the average yearly increase over the 16 years was 1.1 per cent, well below the rate of inflation.

In those years when there has been an element of choice for the council, we have acted responsibly on each occasion on the balance between council tax rises and cuts to services and jobs.

We will do so again for 2024/25.

Councillor Stephen McCabe

Leader of the Council

Elected Member Inverclyde East