HELENSBURGH homeowners are among those paying the most council tax each year relative to income, according to a recent study.

Research by specialist mortgage platform Haysto has found that people living in Argyll and Bute pay the highest proportion of council tax in comparison to their annual earnings.

The area came out on top - or bottom, depending on which way you look at it - in an analysis of all of Scotland's 32 local authorities, with the average cost of council tax per home (£1,281) equivalent to slightly more than five per cent of the £25,421 average salary.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Top 10 areas in Scotland paying the highest proportion of council taxTop 10 areas in Scotland paying the highest proportion of council tax

The figures are in stark contrast to Scotland’s highest earners in East Renfrewshire, where residents on average are earning over £42,000 and are only having to spend 3.69 per cent of their annual salary on council tax.

At the other end of scale is Na h-Eileanan Siar (the Western Isles) where homeowners only pay an average of £888 in council tax, just 3.33 per cent of their average annual salary of £26,684.

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The national average for Scotland was found to be £1,195 per dwelling, with the average salary at £29,980 – making the average council tax payment in the country four per cent of residents’ annual pay, the lowest of the UK nations.

Earlier this year Argyll and Bute Council - along with every other Scottish local authority - again decided to freeze council tax rates at last year's levels.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Top 10 areas in Scotland paying the lowest proportion of council taxTop 10 areas in Scotland paying the lowest proportion of council tax

However there have been calls for the "out-dated and unfair" system of raising revenue to be scrapped and replaced.

Paul Coss, specialist mortgage broker and co-founder of Haysto said: “While Scotland is deemed the fairest nation when it comes to council tax percentages, it’s understandable why there are calls for action on reforming Scotland’s council tax system.

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“With people paying over five per cent of their annual salary, on top of existing bills and a rising cost of living and with the recent property price increases across the nation not reflecting the current council tax bands, it’s something that needs to be addressed.”

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: "Argyll and Bute has seen one of the largest reductions in funding from the Scottish Government - since 2013 funding per head has reduced by £299 in real terms (against a Scottish average of £160) – and the area has always received a significantly smaller portion of the special island needs allowance compared to authorities classed as island authorities.

"Argyll and Bute has one of the smallest council-area populations in Scotland. At the same time our geography can make services more expensive to deliver.

"This all limits how low council tax can be, to sustain essential services. We froze council tax in this year’s budget and continue to work hard to attract people and skills to the area, and to secure vital additional funding from various sources for Argyll and Bute.”