>> Tuesday, 18 June 2013
With less than 48 hours to go until polls open, SNP candidate Mark McDonald has said that only a vote for him can guarantee that the council tax freeze stays in place until 2016/17.
Residents of Aberdeen have the highest average council tax bills in Scotland, with band D tax payers paying £1230.39. To date, residents of Aberdeen have saved over £800 and will have saved over £1,800 by 2016/17.
Mr McDonald has been unequivocal in his support for the council tax freeze, having voted for it every year as a councillor and as an MSP, and has committed to voting for it in every Scottish Parliament budget up until the next election in 2016.
By contrast, Labour candidate Willie Young started the campaign by saying he thought councils "absolutely" should be able to increase council tax. A public backlash has seen Mr Young belatedly trying to claim that he would support the council tax freeze until 2016. This is similar to Labour's repeated criticism of the council tax freeze before they were panicked into including it in their 2011 manifesto - but immediately began criticising it once the elections were over.
Today the SNP has also published the final results of its 'super-survey' of residents of Aberdeen Donside. With 14,115 responses received from residents, 89% favoured keeping the council tax freeze.
Commenting, SNP candidate for Aberdeen Donside Mark McDonald said:
"When the SNP were first elected in 2007, Labour were totally opposed to the council tax freeze - just as Labour's candidate in Donside blurted out that he thinks the city council, of which he is finance convener, should be able to put it up again.
“People in Aberdeen have already saved more than £800 thanks to the SNP's council tax freeze, and will have saved over £1,800 by 2016/17 - money in their pockets and in the local economy that Labour would have taken away.
"I have consistently voted for the council tax freeze both as a councillor and as an MSP - and unlike my Labour opponent, I see no reason why councils should be able to increase council tax, as the freeze has been fully funded by the Scottish Government.
"And only a vote for the SNP in this by-election can guarantee the continuation of the council tax freeze - which the people of Donside want - because I am the only candidate committed to supporting the Scottish Government budgets which fund it.
"The more this campaign has progressed, the more Willie Young has panicked about his previous statements and actions. From school closures to council evictions, he appears to be a candidate on the run from his own policies and his own council administration.
"A vote for me this Thursday is the only way to ensure that the Scottish Parliament can continue to deliver on this vital social policy."