SCOTTISH Greens councillors have urged their MSPs to “strongly oppose” a freeze on council tax with an emergency conference motion.

First Minister Humza Yousaf pledged to stop any rise in council tax this year in a bid to help households with the cost of living crisis during his speech to the SNP conference.

The announcement angered councils and umbrella authority Cosla who were not consulted on the move, with Yousaf being accused of going against the Verity House Agreement with council leaders.

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And now, the Association of Scottish Green Councillors are set to move an emergency motion at the party’s conference in Dunfermline on Saturday, which describes the freeze as “unacceptable”.

The motion, seen exclusively by The National, states: “Conference believes that the way the policy was announced at SNP Conference - without the agreement of COSLA - was unacceptable and not in line with the principles of partnership, trust and mutual respect which underpins both the Verity House Agreement and the Bute House Agreement.

“Conference believes that local taxation should be decided by democratically-elected local government, and that failure to respect this damages trust and completely undermines attempts to treat local government with greater respect.”

The statement adds that while the FM’s announcement said the freeze will be “fully funded”, it must equate to a “fair settlement” for local authorities, with councils and Cosla involved in deciding how that is delivered.

“Conference notes commitments that the freeze will be for one year only and believes that what has happened this year should never be repeated,” it adds.

The National:

“Conference notes that even a time-limited freeze has a compound effect on long-term revenue for local authorities.”

Greens councillors called on the Scottish Government to recommit to the Verity House Agreement, ensure the way the council tax freeze was handled is “never repeated” and proposals to allow second homes to be charged 200% of council tax to be delivered “as soon as possible”.

And, crucially, they called for a timetable for a council tax replacement to be “published by the end of the 2024-25 budget process”.

Kayleigh O’Neill, co-convener of the Association of Scottish Green Councillors, said that the group “strongly opposes” the announcement made by the First Minister on the council tax freeze “which was proposed without the agreement of COSLA or the Scottish Greens”.


The Edinburgh councillor added: “When this has been done in the past it has led to underinvestment in public services, disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable.

“It has also hurt revenue and pushed our communities and budgets under further avoidable pressure.

“At the Scottish Green Party’s conference this weekend we have tabled an emergency motion to call for a recommitment to the Verity House Agreement between the Scottish Government and COSLA. We will also reiterate the Scottish Green Party’s belief in progressive taxation and note that freezing council tax is a regressive policy.

“We also call for any freeze to be fully funded and ensure that local services we all rely on are not made to pay the price.”

Scottish Greens members will vote on the motion at the party’s conference on Saturday afternoon.