On the day the SNP's national local government manifesto reaffirms the SNP's commitment to freezing council tax, Glasgow SNP challenges Labour in Glasgow to set out their position once and for all on the council tax freeze.
Glasgow Labour’s position on the council tax freeze has been confused and inconsistent.
The city’s Labour MSPs voted against a council tax freeze in the Scottish Parliament – but then committed to a 2 year freeze just before the Scottish Parliament elections just last year.
Labour’s local Glasgow manifesto claims the party is committed to a five year freeze – but Labour’s local leader Gordon Matheson has also called for the council tax freeze to be scrapped.
And Scottish Labour's deputy leader, a Glasgow MP, recently questioned a 5 year freeze, saying: "I don't think that's credible. I don't think that's progressive."
Glasgow SNP has consistently supported the council tax freeze and can be trusted not to change their minds if elected to lead the Council on May the 3rd.
Allison Hunter, Glasgow SNP's Group Leader said:
“Glasgow Labour are all over the place on the council tax freeze. Gordon Matheson wrote to Finance Secretary John Swinney calling for it to be scrapped but has now performed a U-turn just before the council elections to commit to a 5 year freeze. How can we know he won’t change his mind again?
“It raises questions about what Glasgow Labour’s position really is. Voters are entitled to have clarity on this important issue before they go to the polls.
“Under Labour, council tax across Scotland went up by 60 per cent on average. It’s a regressive tax which hits families on low incomes and pensioners the hardest. In these tough times the council tax freeze means that people know that at least there is one bill that won’t go up.
My message to voters is that only the SNP has consistently supported the council tax freeze -and only the SNP can be trusted to deliver a 5 year freeze.”
Glasgow Labour’s 2012 manifesto’s first pledge is to freeze the council tax for five years. This is despite Leader Gordon Matheson having previously called for an end to the freeze http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-10985263 and Deputy Leader Anas Sarwar saying on Newsnight Scotland (30th Jan 2012) “I don’t think that’s credible. I don’t think that’s progressive.”
Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray – in response to publication of the Scottish Government’s spending review on 21st September – said “I always said a five-year council tax freeze seemed just unaffordable” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-14989156
Scottish Labour’s national 2011 manifesto only stated that Scottish Labour “will freeze the council tax for the next two years.”
In a letter to Finance Secretary John Swinney in December 2010, Gordon Matheson said "It is with a gun to my head that I agree to your short-term targets" (Scotsman, 19th December 2010)