Thursday August 10th 2023
This article has been written by Midlothian East Councillor (Conservative), Peter Smaill.
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), hand in glove with the SNP/Green government, have launched a ‘consultation’ on the framework for Council Tax.
Right now, excluding water and waste, a Midlothian Band “A” household pays about £1,000, with larger properties in Band H paying over £3,500 per year.
So, from the perspective of the latter, they are already paying around three times what the lowest bands pay for bins to be collected, school places found, roads fixed and a host of other services made available.
COSLA and the Scottish Government are treating local funding as a method of punishment for those who happen to be better off. They do not see it as a way where we can all contribute a fair share in return for good, efficient public services. So called wealthy people in larger homes are already punished with the highest rate of income tax in the United Kingdom, and the Scottish-version of Stamp Duty, the Land Based Transaction Tax (LBTT).
It is not the case that these properties always have owners with spare cash. Widows often do not, and couples starting a family who need the space have major mortgage obligations. Maintenance can be expensive. It’s not clear, beyond the existing single person discount, how hardship cases can be avoided.
For Midlothian Council, the income might be around £2.5m extra, which compares to this years deficit of £14 million. A drop in the ocean for a disproportionate amount of pain. This proposal is just another example of the SNP’s Government, with their puppets here in Dalkeith, scraping the bottom of a long-dried up barrel. The Scottish Government treats local authorities up and down this country like an inconvenience, slashing budgets year on year, wasting our hard-earned cash on a vanity projects like Destination Hillend.
There is an important debate here on the principles of taxation, but one which has kicked off with misleading statistics and assumptions made from a selective use of facts.
Scotland can be a nation with a competitive tax regime, allowing prosperity, but clobbering one group of citizens is not the way to fulfil key aims of growing our economy and providing efficient and affordable local services.Tweet Share on Facebook