Au­thor­ity call­ing for tax re­form

Re­sponse to com­mis­sion

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

South La­nark­shire Coun­cil has called for re­form of the coun­cil tax, but the au­thor­ity does not be­lieve a lo­cal in­come tax is the an­swer.

In­stead, SLC has pro­posed sev­eral changes to the cur­rent prop­erty-based sys­tem.

Coun­cil­lors on an ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee are ex­pected to­day (Wed­nes­day) to ap­prove the coun­cil’s re­sponse to the Com­mis­sion on Lo­cal Tax­a­tion.

The com­mis­sion posed three ques­tions to lo­cal author­i­ties ask­ing if coun­cils thought the cur­rent sys­tem was fair and what changes they would make, what al­ter­atives could be brought in and how well com­mu­ni­ties’ lo­cal pri­or­i­ties are ac­counted for.

In the pro­posed re­sponse, SLC will say wealth as well as in­come should be taxed and the cre­ation of a lo­cal in­come tax would be “a dis­in­cen­tive to work - which would harm the econ­omy.”

The re­sponse adds: “A cen­trally set Lo­cal In­come Tax would do noth­ing to im­prove lo­cal ac­count­abil­ity and would re­sult in more cen­tral­i­sa­tion.

“The coun­cil be­lieves that prop­erty based taxes are a more suit­able model for fund­ing lo­cal ser­vices and it has con­sid­ered the po­ten­tial around some ver­sion of a Land Val­u­a­tion Tax.”

SLC will sug­gest six im­prove­ments to the cur­rent sys­tem, in­clud­ing an in­crease in the num­ber of coun­cil tax bands and reg­u­lar statu­tory re­val­u­a­tions.

The coun­cil will also call on a re­view of coun­cil tax dis­counts and ex­emp­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to SLC, the coun­cil tax freeze and lack of reval­u­a­tion in the past 24 years as led to a re­duc­tion in lo­cal ac­count­abil­ity.

The re­port states: “The coun­cil be­lieves that at present - with the Coun­cil Tax freeze and with the in­creas­ing im­po­si­tion of na­tional uni­form stan­dards and lev­els of ser­vice - the abil­ity of lo­cal gov­ern­ment to re­flect lo­cal pri­or­i­ties through the lo­cal demo­cratic process is se­verely lim­ited.

“It be­lieves that only with greater free­dom of coun­cils to raise more of their fund­ing and a will­ing­ness to al­low lo­cal so­lu­tions to be de­vel­oped that re­flect lo­cally agreed pri­or­i­ties, will the abil­ity to im­prove the lives of in­di­vid­u­als and the sit­u­a­tion in com­mu­ni­ties be de­liv­er­able and gen­er­ate mean­ing­ful citizen- led change.”

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