Council tax commission calls for evidence
The Scottish Government’s Commission on Local Tax Reform has appealed to the public and interested organisations to submit evidence on the future of local government funding.
The commission is expected to report to the government and local government body COSLA in Autumn, ahead of next year’s Scottish Parliament elections.
A previous SNP pledge to scrap the council tax and introduce a local income tax was dropped in 2008 after a row over the impact on council tax benefit in Scotland.
However, responsibility for council tax benefit moved to the Scottish Government in 2013 with the introduction of council tax reduction, and the continued council tax freeze since 2007 has re-opened the issue.
Local government minister Marco Biagi, who is co-chairing the cross-party commission, said: “This unique commission sees experts and practitioners together with MSPs and representatives from local government who are working across the political divide to examine alternative systems of local taxation.
“The present council tax is universally acknowledged as being unfair, but our public services depend upon the £2 billion of funding it delivers each year.
“The views of Scotland’s 2.4 million council tax payers are fundamental to our understanding of other potential systems and their likely success.
“Nearly every household in Scotland is liable for council tax, but nobody has ever asked the public how they might best contribute to the funding of public services.”
David O’Neill, president of COSLA, is also co-chairing the commission.
He said: “We have started a process to find out what it would take to develop a better system of local taxation in Scotland.
“There is a lot to play for and that’s why we are asking new questions about what happens now and what the future might be.
“I know that these issues really matter to people across Scotland, and we’ll be listening closely to what we hear.
“Over the coming months we’ll be putting in place many other ways in which people can meet us and share their ideas- in fact, we want to hear about how we should do this.”
A short online questionnaire and the call for evidence are available on the commission’s website.
Formal evidence must be submitted by Monday 22 June.