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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 February 2008, 15:45 GMT
Council tax cut gets green light
Council tax bill
The Scottish Government wants a freeze on rates
Stirling Council has agreed to cut its council tax bills for the coming year.

The local authority unanimously approved a 1.1% reduction - making it the only Scottish council to take such a step so far this year.

Clackmannanshire Council also met on Thursday, but deferred a decision on its budget.

Over recent weeks 28 councils have agreed to freeze their council tax bills, with decisions still awaited in two others.

The Scottish Government said in November that it would provide an extra 70m of funding to councils if they froze the tax at 2007 levels.

The Stirling Council decision means that the bill for an average Band D property in the area will fall from 1,223 to 1,209.

Council leader Corrie McChord said: "A number of unavoidable financial pressures have made this budget round extremely difficult.

New proposals

"However, I'm pleased that by making savings across the board we have been able to increase the spending on the priority areas of caring for our most vulnerable people and improving roads and transport."

Despite the cut, Stirling's SNP group hit out at the ruling Labour/Lib Dem administration.

The party's finance spokesman, Scott Farmer, said: "A 1.1% cut in council tax makes a good headline, but close examination of the numbers reveals plenty of creative accountancy and a lot of papering over the cracks.

"Yet again, the most vulnerable are targeted, and what the administration would have us believe is growth is in actuality severe cuts. Smoke and mirrors indeed."

Clackmannanshire Council's delay was agreed after the council's SNP opposition leader Donald Balsillie put forward an alternative budget.

Conservative councillor Alastair Campbell then called for time to consider the new proposals.

Despite the delay, it is understood that all parties have agreed in principle to freeze council tax.

The authority is expected to meet again next week to take a decision.

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