In his latest Post column, Councillor for Victoria Park Eunis Jassemi shares his thoughts on the prospect of tax rising...

In these challenging times, many local residents have shifted from cutting back on luxuries to sacrificing even the bare essentials.

As parents go hungry to feed their children and pensioners face tough choices between heating and eating, the proposed council tax hike by Humza Yousaf seems ill-timed and insensitive.

Under the SNP-Green government's plans, over a quarter of households across Scotland could be burdened with increased taxes.

What's even more distressing is that over 80,000 of the poorest households will bear the brunt of these increases, while the wealthiest are spared.

These proposed tax hikes, potentially reaching a staggering 22.5 per cent, would add significant financial strain to already stretched budgets, costing local families hundreds of pounds annually.

Despite claiming that efforts to tackle poverty are a priority for his government, Mr Yousaf's actions contradict his words and mirror the insensitivity of others in power.

Previously, the SNP had vowed to overhaul Scotland's broken council tax system, yet they now double down on it, disregarding the financial hardships faced by many.

This broken promise is a betrayal of the very people the government should be helping.

What exacerbates the situation is that, while local citizens are being asked to pay more, the quality of services being received diminishes.

In essence, the SNP and Greens expect ordinary people, including the most vulnerable households, to remedy the budget deficit they themselves created.

After 16 years in power, this SNP government continues to evade responsibility, always shifting blame and expecting others to fix their mistakes.

At the last full council meeting, I raised the pressure families and some of the most vulnerable households are facing with council leader Susan Aitken.

This situation compounds the burden on households who are already paying a Tory mortgage premium. Now they face an additional SNP council tax bombshell.

However, there is hope for change. Labour has a tangible plan to address the cost-of-living crisis and foster long-term prosperity.

Scottish Labour's approach includes scrapping these detrimental council tax hikes and safeguarding struggling homeowners through the Mortgage Rescue Scheme.

Furthermore, nationwide, UK Labour will close loopholes and enact a windfall tax on the excessive profits of oil and gas giants.

A comprehensive clean energy plan will also be implemented to permanently reduce annual bills, potentially saving households up to £1,400 per year.

Scotland cannot endure further failures from the Tories and SNP. Change is within reach and Scottish Labour is committed to delivering it.