Highland Council is now ranked sixth worst in Scotland for value for money with a roads score of just 1.29 out of 10 while recycling tallied around 35 percent, according to new research but the local authority expresses 'disappointment' at the lack of context
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Highland Council is providing a poor return on Council Tax and is ranked joint sixth worst in Scotland, according to new figures.
Earlier this month, the council was ranked as the eighth worst local authority in Scotland out of 32 but after recycling data was calculated it dropped two places.
The damning assessment shows that “roads in Highland are poorly maintained” with a score of 1.29 out of 10 while almost nine percent need to be repaired.
Waste management also needs improvement as recycling scores a mere 2.26 out 10 as just over 35 per cent of household waste was recycled.
The relatively low crime – just 300 incidents per 10,000 people – elevated the score with a healthy 6.45 out of 10.
The only local authorities performing worse were – Dumfries and Galloway; City of Edinburgh; Argyll & Bute; Glasgow City; and Inverclyde.
As the cost of living crisis deepens, council tax represents a significant cost, leading experts at Money to analyse which UK residents are getting the most bang for their buck.
James Andrews, a finance expert at Money, offered guidance on how to check you’re not overpaying your council tax and tips on how to get a reduction.
He said: "With council tax bills rising by around three per cent in April it might come as good news for many that 46.1 per cent of tax challenges made last year succeeded in reducing their band. As property valuations were roughly done back in 1991, it’s possible that your house was misvalued."
He advised residents to check with neighbours and compare council tax bands with neighbouring properties of a similar size and style – in addition check online at: Scottish Assessors' Association and use a house price valuation tool such as Nationwide’s.
He added: "See if you are eligible for a council tax discount – if you live alone for instance, or you’re the only adult in the household living with under-18s, you can get 25 per cent off your council tax bills.
"If you are a full-time student taking a one-year long course, or dedicate 21 hours of studying per week, you are exempt from paying. Check your local council's site to see who else is entitled to discounts.
A spokesman for Highland Council said: "It’s disappointing to see such raw analysis without the relevant context. The Highland Council has the largest geographical are in the UK to serve along with low density of population.
"This results in much higher costs to deliver services to the public including fuel and the analysis provided doesn’t therefore account for the complexity of delivering services, nor the resources available to deliver them.
"The council has worked hard to balance the cost of Council Tax to householders with the quality of services it delivers, the analysis also doesn’t take into account, for example, how effective our waste services are with recycling services across our geography or the high regard high regard the public have for the Council’s waste services."