Scotsman: Lib Dems to back SNP deal for Local income Tax

by Stephen Tall on September 5, 2008

This from today’s Scotsman:

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, yesterday gave his blessing to a deal with the SNP that could mean local income tax being introduced in Scotland. He said he wanted the party north of the Border to come to an agreement with the Scottish Government because he hoped a local income tax would be introduced and the council tax abolished.

Alex Salmond, the First Minister, announced earlier this week that he was going to push ahead with plans to introduce a local income tax, set centrally at 3p in the pound, and a bill would be published in the next parliamentary session. The Liberal Democrats also want a local income tax, but they want it to be levied by individual councils, not set by the Scottish Government. Neither side has yet agreed to compromise on this central issue, but Mr Clegg gave a clear hint that he believed the SNP might drop its insistence on a nationally set rate.

… He said: “Where, of course, we presently differ from the SNP is that, while the SNP’s formal policy is still that it should be a genuine local tax, namely one that can be varied by communities locally, their present proposal is, of course, much more rigid than that – it is actually a set rate. That is precisely the issue on which we want to persuade the SNP to go back to their better instincts, so that we are once again in line with each other.”

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A nationally-set LIT would effectively strip councils or any tax-raising power they ever had. It would be a massive power-sift away from councils to the Scottish executive…which is probably exactly what Alex Salmond wants…

Lib Dems should go along with the early phases of this Bill, but should NOT vote it into effect unless it is changed to locally set later on.

by Mark Wright on September 5, 2008 at 4:15 pm. Reply #

Agree with Mark Wright. If they capitulate and scrap local taxation – which is what Salmond’s plan amounts to – the Scots will have done irreperable damage to the Lib Dems’ reputations as champions of localism.

by James Graham on September 6, 2008 at 3:03 pm. Reply #

As a Scottish Councillor, I’d be happy with 3% for two years while it beds in with councils getting the power to vary it after that – and I think that’s where it’s going.

Now, maybe we should start thinking about that referendum…

by KL on September 12, 2008 at 12:50 pm. Reply #

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