Thursday, 15 March 2012

Council Tax - It's Not A Freeze We Need, It's Abolition

Like other Edinburgh householders I've just received my Council tax bill for the coming year. And as unwelcome as the financial demand is, it's the unfairness of it I find hardest to swallow. In the current economic climate, with incomes falling in real terms, millions of Scots find the Council tax a significant drain on family budgets. Yet in 2007 Alex Salmond promised to scrap the Council Tax because it was unfair. He told us he would bring forward a Bill to replace it with one which was fair, based on your income and related to people's ability to pay. But 5 years later we are still waiting. The Council Tax is even more unfair than it was, but the First Minister has done nothing to address this injustice, where those on modest incomes carry the greatest burden. There are pensioners in this city paying one quarter of their income on this bill, whilst others on seven figure salaries, like RBS CEO Stephen Hestor, pays 'buttons' relatively speaking. His Council Tax bill is twice the average despite his salary being 300 times greater. SNP apologists will doubtless point out that Council Tax bills have been frozen in recent years but freezing it doesn't somehow make it fair. And since the First Minister's excuse for not abolishing the Council Tax between 2007 and 2011 was that he didn't have a Parliamentary majority, I am sure I am not the only one asking when will he make good on his promise now that he does?

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