Minister’s claim on Aberdeenshire council tax increase missing context

8 August 2023
What was claimed

The SNP plan to increase council tax by £768.12 per year in Aberdeenshire.

Our verdict

This isn’t true for the large majority of properties. This increase would apply only to about 630 Band H properties. But 99.5% of homes would see no increase or an increase up to £477.54 by 2026/27.

The SNP plan to increase council tax by £768.12 per year in Aberdeenshire

Energy minister Andrew Bowie claimed on Twitter that the SNP is planning on raising council tax in Aberdeenshire by £768.12 a year. This is missing important context, as Mr Bowie fails to say that this increase has not yet been agreed and, if it is, it would only apply to a small proportion of homes in the area. 

The SNP-led Scottish government is currently consulting on plans that could see council tax for Band H properties across Scotland increase by 22.5%.

 In Aberdeenshire, this would be an increase of £768.12, though this would only apply to 631 homes (0.5% of all dwellings) not to all properties in the local authority as Mr Bowie’s tweet appears to suggest. The increased rate would come into force over three years. 

Data should be presented in a clear way by politicians in order to minimise the risk of it being misinterpreted or people being misled by a claim. The use of official information without appropriate context and caveats can damage public trust in both official information and politicians. 

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Proposed changes to Scottish council tax

Under the plans that are currently under consultation, properties in Bands E-H across Scotland could see an increase in council tax that goes beyond normal annual increases set by local authorities.

This would be achieved by changing how much more properties in Bands E-H are charged, relative to the Band D level set by councils. This level, known as the multiplier, was previously changed by the Scottish government in 2017. 

If the new plans are approved, the Scottish government would mimic the increases seen in the 2017 plans. This means there would be a 7.5% increase in council tax for Band E properties, a 12.5% increase for Band F properties, a 17.5% increase for Band G properties and a 22.5% increase for Band H properties. The consultation suggests this would be implemented over three years, with the fully increased value payable from 2026/27.

Properties in Aberdeenshire

In Aberdeenshire, Band H properties—those that were valued over £212,000 in 1991— will be charged £3,413.88 in council tax in 2023/24. 

If the proposals are approved this would go up by 22.5% to £4,182 by 2026/27—the increase of £768.12 that Mr Bowie referred to. However, as outlined above, his tweet failed to mention that only a very small proportion of properties in Aberdeenshire would have to pay this increase (0.5% of all dwellings in the council area, according to figures from September 2022). Updated figures show there are currently 631 Band H homes this increase would apply to.

The majority of properties in Aberdeenshire—around 70,000—are in council tax Bands A-D and would not see an increase in council tax under the proposals. 

Properties in Bands E-G would see their council tax go up, but by less than £768.12. Around 22,600 Band E properties in Aberdeenshire would pay an additional £137.31 a year compared to current rates; 17,500 properties in Band F an extra £283.04; and 11,400 homes in Band G would be charged £477.54 more.

We’ve contacted Mr Bowie about his claim and will update this article if he responds.


Image courtesy of Chris McAndrew

We deserve better than bad information.

After we published this fact check, we contacted Andrew Bowie to ask him to provide his Twitter followers with important context which we believe was missing from his tweet.

Mr Bowie did not respond.

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