EARLIER this year, the SNP-Green government published proposals for increasing the council tax for Band E and above homes, with rises of between 7.5 and 22.5 per cent. This means some households would face up to an extra £800 a year on their charge, before any additional annual increase by councils.

When these proposals were discussed and rejected at a recent East Lothian Council meeting, council leader Norman Hampshire highlighted that this band hike would indiscriminately affect pensioners and young families on fixed incomes.

In fact, Scottish Labour research has found that more than 80,000 low-income households across Scotland could be hit by the increase.

In contrast, 38 per cent of the wealthiest Scottish households live in Bands A-D, which would not have an increase imposed under the SNP’s regressive plans.

READ MORE: Scottish Government council tax rise proposals opposed

These SNP-Green plans are only being considered because of the significant cuts made to council funding in recent years.

Government funding accounts for around 75 per cent of the total amount spent by councils, with the council tax raising only 25 per cent, so the central cuts have hit them hard.

In addition to these cuts, council budgets are also under unprecedented pressure from high interest rates, inflation, increases in energy costs and growth in demand for council services, especially in a rapidly growing area like East Lothian.

My Labour colleagues in East Lothian opposed the SNP-Green hike and argued for fair funding for East Lothian and other local authorities.

Unsurprisingly, SNP and Green councillors followed their leaders and voted to support the tax rise plans. It is shocking that they would back council tax rises of up to 22 per cent in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.

Many on fixed incomes will simply be unable to pay for these deeply regressive proposals, which the SNP must now reconsider.