People of Scotland depriving Councils of £276million of essential cash

Councils across Scotland have been making dramatic cut backs to their services due to financial pressures over recent years with the trend continuing as Councils set their budgets for the next financial year.

Scottish Councils are primarily funded by a grant from the Scottish Government, only around 15% of Councils budgets is sourced from Council Tax but it remains an important funding stream, used to provide essential front line community services such as refuse collection, libraries, community facilities, education services, street lighting and so on.

That is why is it is so important that the people of Scotland pay their Council Tax, to fail to pay their Council Tax is to put at risk essential local services which may hurt our communities for years to come.

It is peoples duty to pay Council Tax, to prioritise its payment over other expenditure such as cable television, cigarettes and alcohol.

In January 2017 records held by Scotlands 32 Councils detailed that the people of Scotland owed a total of £276million in Council Tax from the last three complete financial years.

This is a staggering amount which Councils simply don’t have to spend on front line services.

Imagine how many new Primary Schools could be funded? Imagine how many libraries & community centres could be refurbished or rebuilt?

The people of Scotland must now, more than ever, dig deep to fund local Councils.

Are Councils doing enough to recover the missing cash? Whatever they are doing, they need to do more giving such a large outstanding amount.

With local Council elections being held this year, perhaps we should asking candidates what they will be doing to ensure that their local authority will be doing everything it can to collect the outstanding money in order to use it for essential community services.

Whilst in general Council Tax collection rates remain high, there is clearly more work to be done.

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New Year Honours 2017

As is customary at this time of year Her Majesty The Queen has announced who she will be granting honours to in the New Years Honours List.

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Predatory sex offender Jimmy Savile was Knighted by HM The Queen.

1,197 people are being awarded honours such as the Queens Police Medal or are being admitted to the Order of the British Empire.

I really am of two minds on the current honours system.

On one hand it is a valuable & respected way to recognise those who have shown outstanding & longstanding commitment to their profession, community or country. And I think that is something which should be recognised.

But on the other hand it does seem rather archaic to award honours referring to our British Empire.

As someone who spent some time living in the Borders town of Galashiels, I was pleased to see that well known, well loved & well respected Ice Cream man Adam Kelly (aged 94) gets some recognition in this years list.

We need an honours system that is fit for purpose, fit for the future and rewarding the right people for the right things throughout the UK.

I hope to add to the discussions already taking place around the UK honours system by making this blog post and starting a petition asking for Royal Commission to be established to consider the future of UK honours.