Authority calling for tax reform
Response to commission
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.”