Parking Fees Rise As Tax Revenues Fall in Scotland
EDINBURGH – Falling tax revenues in Scotland are leading to hikes in the price of essential facilities and services such as parking and elderly care.
Since 2007 local councils in Scotland have been raising the prices of many social services and public facilities in order to compensate for the fall in revenues coming from the collection of property tax, according to a new report released on October 31st by the Auditor General and the Accounts Commission of Scotland.
Over the last 6 years the revenue from property tax, officially called council tax, has fallen from GBP 2.5 billion per year to GBP 2.3 billion per year, after the rate of the tax was frozen in 2007.
The declining revenues have led to budgetary shortfalls, which, according to Auditor General and the Accounts Commission, have been covered by hikes to the fees charged for essential social services such as parking fees, sports facilities, emergency medical alarms, and also for meals and in-home care for the elderly.
The Commission recommended that local council act quickly to secure funding streams for the social services, as the demand the for such facilities is likely to increase in the near future, with the number of people aged 75 and over in the country expected to double within the next 20 years.
Failing to find the funding necessary to support the social services will likely lead to further price hikes for local facilities, and the introduction of fees for amenities which are traditionally free, such as museums.
According to the Commission, the potential price hikes are particularly worrying, as the increases will have the most significant effect on individuals who require the services the most.
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