Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Local taxation ...

I've posted extensively about my fears over the future health of Scottish Local Government, all of which is potentially about to be further compounded by what is erroneously being called a 'Local Income Tax (LIT)' ...

... others can judge for themselves, but my worries in this area are generally apolitical - if the Scottish Government were devolving real, autonomous powers to Local Government and were about to bring forward a genuinely, variable Local Income Tax then I would not be voicing such outright opposition to what's been happening to Local Government post-May 2007.

There are plenty of local activists and politicians, across ALL parties (including the SNP), who privately agree with me.

Given that Single Outcome Agreements are now with us - for the foreseeable future at least - then I'm left wondering if there is yet some room for redemption in the LIT plans currently out for consultation?

And, to be honest, I can see few sensible outcomes (short of them being abandoned, or voted down in their current form) - but one solution just could be Land Value Tax (LVT - which does get a mention in the Scottish Government consultation)?

LVT has a long pedigree and there is a wealth of material available on the internet explaining it - I like Mark Braund's writing in this area as he makes plain the links between LVT and the (potential of) wider social and other economic benefits.

Its the Scottish Greens who have made some headway in getting LVT on the Holyrood agenda ... but whether the SNP will be willing to back away from their flawed LIT-plans and opt for something completely different is still pretty unlikely from where I sit ...

... yet, you never know - the consultation closes in a couple of days and there is the promise of imminent legislation thereafter. By the time that legislation gets to the Holyrood debating chamber, there will be (at least!) two new Party Leaders in post, who between them will lead 62 of the Parliaments 129 votes.

Along with the 2 Greens and Margo MacDonald they could all just surprise me ;-)

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