Tag Archives: local taxation

SNP’s Council Tax reform: timid, unfair and ill-thought through

Back in December, the Local Tax Commission in Scotland published its report which looked at various ways of raising local taxes. Political parties were urged to bring forward their own proposals. Scottish Conference had a consultation on a well-researched and thorough document. An indicative vote at the end favoured a progressive, fair property and land based tax, which, if formally adopted, would replace our proposal for a local income tax.

The basic principles that you would expect from a local tax is that it’s fair, progressive and takes into account the ability to pay. I have to say I’m not entirely sold on the idea of a property tax, although I can see the arguments for taxing property as opposed to income.  The proposals outlined in the Scottish Lib Dems’ policy document do mean that those in the least valuable properties paying significantly less.

The SNP announced their preferred solution yesterday. They have the choice of so many new powers and all they did was tinker at the edges, putting up the rate for the four highest bands.  Is this really the best they can come up with, embedding the inherent unfairness of the Council Tax yet further?

Let’s look at my street as an example. Under the SNP’s plan, a professional couple in a band D house earning two substantial incomes would pay no more yet a family in a slightly larger property up the street with one worker on a much lower income would pay more. That doesn’t make sense. There has to be a way to deal with that sort of anomaly.

Secondly, the Council Tax is based on property values that, by 2021, will be 30 years old. This is not the fundamental reform that the SNP promised. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 18 Comments
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