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.”