Sunday, 13 March 2011

Dont 'freeze' the Council tax, shovel it away

This weeks u-turn by Labour's Iain Gray in favour of a Council tax freeze may put him on a par with Alex Salmond but it does little to challenge the essential inequity of the tax itself.
The overwhelming majority of Scots want to see the Council tax swept away altogether like the unwelcome snows of the weekend, not kept and frozen.
Since the tax bears no relation to one's income or ability to pay it is the poor who are inevitably hit hardest. Some senior citizens for example must pay 20% of their entire income on this one bill.
Iain Gray would therefore be well advised to examine the Registers of Scotland report published this week showing how the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer when measured via house sales in the past year. Houses in Belmont Drive, Edinburgh, for example, currently Scotland's most expensive street so we are told, were sold for £2.3million in 2010. Householders in that part of Murrayfield pay just £2,338 in Council tax whereas those householders in the city's average Band F properties, valued at less than 1/10th of the price, face a bill of £1,688 or 70% as much. Clearly neither Labour nor the SNP's Council tax 'freeze' does much to help the poor and the low paid who continue to shoulder by far the heaviest burden.
In 2007 the SNP manifesto for Holyrood accepted the fundamental injustice of the Council tax and pledged to scrap it altogether in favour of an income based alternative. They have moved far from such a commitment insisting the better off face up to their responsibilities, to simply 'freezing in' the unfairness. Its no wonder then that industrialists like Sir David Murray are happy to back them in May. Not only did the SNP not deliver on their 2007 election promise they didn't even put up a fight. They chickened out of submitting a Bill to Parliament replacing the Council tax for fear it would be defeated. This attitude is in stark contrast to the record of the Scottish Socialist Party which presented 2 Bills in consecutive sessions.
The SSP remains committed to an income based alternative to the Council tax which shifts the burden from the shoulders of pensioners and the poor onto those of say Mr. Stephen Hestor the now £6.6million richer CEO of RBS and his neighbours in Belmont Drive and elsewhere who can plainly afford to pay more.

No comments:

Post a Comment