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Freeze on council charges in Moray

By Alistair Whitfield

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Charges for things such as brown bin collections, school meals and car parking are expected to be frozen at their current levels in Moray next year.

The council today agreed to try not increase its service charges for the 2022/2023 financial year.

This follows an earlier decision not to put up these charges this year.

Aaron McLean, who chairs the council's corporate committee, said: "In the aftermath of the pandemic, and the context of recovery, it’s appropriate to freeze certain service charges at current levels.

Cllr McLean (Forres, SNP) added: "Members are acutely aware of the financial pressures on household and business budgets at a particularly uncertain time.

"Any future decisions on other charges, such as council tax and rent, will be made based on the wider financial circumstances at that time."

Both council tax and council house rent levels will be set separately in March next year.

The last time that service charges in Moray was increased was 2020/21 when they rose by 5%.

In each of the two years prior to that they were raised by 3%.

Other charges for the local authority’s leisure facilities, swimming pools, harbours, registry services and libraries are also expected to stay the same next year.

At today's meeting members of the corporate committee were asked to consider a default increase of 2% across the board, or whether some areas should stay the same while others could rise.

Council leader Graham Leadbitter (Elgin South, SNP) said: "Given the situation the country is in at the moment in terms of recovering from Covid, I propose freezing charges at the present time.

"People are hard pressed at the moment and there’s no point in trying to take money from people who can’t afford it – that’s not sustainable."

It is thought the move will amount to a loss of income for the council of around £25,000.

A final decision will be taken by the council early next year.

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