A week after the Scottish elections we are no further forward to a government (just as well Westminster is looking after us! Even if they are all pre-occupied with Tony going). There have been spats over the Presiding Officer, no-one wants to give up a seat in such a close situation, and then the parties have all been pulling back from any kind of coalition. So it looks like Alex is going on his tod, with the occasional help from the couple of greens.
What this brings into play is the fact that it is going to be difficult for any government to be progressive with their own agenda. This is going to come to the fore with the promised SNP local tax changes.
Whilst I know there are issues with the Council Tax, I must say that I am 100% against a local income tax, and that affected my voting patterns at the election.
I would hope that the SNP now see that almost half of the country (those voting Labour or Tory) were voting for parties that were not going to introduce this local tax and, upon reading further into the SNP proposals, leave a hole in the local authorities purses. This hole is almost 1/5th of the combined local authories budget. So I think it is fair to say that 3% is not very realistic.
I would like to think that easier, less expensive changes can be made to the Council Tax.
- More bands, I prescribe to the line of thought that says if you can buy a Â£1 million house then you can afford to pay more Council Tax. The same goes with cars and road tax; more expensive, uneconomical cars….. if you have got one you can pay more road tax.
- Pensioners should just pay a nationally set flat rate, these people have spent a life time supporting the country and the ‘system’. So they should all get equal benefit. This would remove the postcode lottery of services versus tax levels.
- Discounts. Better publicised discounts. Let people know what they are entitled to and tell them how to get it!
These tweaks to a system that works will be cheaper that wrestling with councils over a nationally set level, the tax man on how this will be collected and managed (esp if we are going for independence!) and the potential brain drain of well paid families who will loose out considerably on a local tax solution.