PLANS to reform council tax bands by increasing bills on larger homes could affect one in three households across South Ayrshire, a Labour MSP has claimed.

Carol Mochan branded the SNP proposals a "scandal", claiming that 18,497 households in the area would be forced to pay significantly more if the plans - currently out for public consultation - become reality.

Ms Mochan says the plans to increase council tax rates on properties in bands E, F, G and H could leave people facing increases of up to £801.05 on their annual bills.

Under the proposals, the tax levied on Band E properties would rise by 7.5 per cent.

For Band F properties, the rise would be 12.5 per cent; for Band G, 17.5 per cent; and for Band H, the highest, the increase would be 22.5 per cent.

The Scottish Government says the changes, if implemented, would leave Band H households facing an average annual bill of £4,251.

Bills on smaller properties in bands A to D would not be affected by the proposals.

Ms Mochan, who represents the South Scotland region, said the proposals would heap more pressure on households who are already struggling to make ends meet.

She said: “Years of brutal cuts by the SNP have left local services in South Ayrshire at breaking point and now the government wants to plug the gaps with eye-watering council tax hikes of more than £800.

"It is a scandal that ordinary people here in Ayrshire are once again being asked to pay more while getting less in return.

“This damaging council tax bombshell will hit almost 18,500 households in South Ayrshire during the worst cost of living crisis in decades, piling pressure on people already facing impossible financial decisions.

"Scots struggling with rising housing costs should be getting support from their government – but instead they are being asked to foot the bill for the SNP’s failure.

“Labour will stand up for people struggling with soaring living costs and fight for a fair deal for South Ayrshire.”

The government says that a Band H property currently has a council tax liability around three times that of a property in Band A - but is on average worth 15 times more.

Launching a consultation on the government's proposals, public finance minister Tom Arthur said: “We have listened to calls for the council tax system to be made fairer, as presently more of the burden falls on those in the lower bands when considered as a proportion of the value of their property.

“The changes would only affect around a quarter of properties and even after they are taken into account, average council tax in Scotland would still be less than anywhere else in the UK.

“We know that many people are struggling with their finances, and our council tax reduction scheme is there to ensure nobody has to pay a council tax bill they cannot be expected to afford, regardless of what band they are in.

“I would encourage anyone who has views on these proposals to complete our consultation before it closes on September 20, to help us determine if they should be taken forward.”

The proposed changes are also being backed by local government umbrella body Cosla.