Disappointment at SNP plan to keep the Council Tax

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John Finnie has expressed his disappointment after the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced that she plans to keep the Council Tax if re-elected.

Successive SNP manifestos have included a pledge to scrap the discredited tax, and the Scottish Government set up a cross-party Commission on Local Tax Reform, on which land expert Andy Wightman represented the Greens, to examine possible alternatives.

But this morning the First Minister announced that the Council Tax would stay.

John urged Nicola Sturgeon not to give up on her party’s long-stated opposition to the tax, and to move instead to support the Scottish Green Party proposal of a Land Value Tax.

He said:

“I was dismayed to see Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement that she intends to abandon her long campaign against the Council Tax.

“In 2007, she said ‘Labour’s hated Council Tax is totally unfair, and any tinkering with bands won’t make the system any fairer.’ I think she was right then, and it is extremely disappointing that now she’s planning to stick with the Council Tax after all.

“The Council Tax is regressive, it’s unfair, and it makes Scotland’s housing crisis worse by penalising development and repair. It has to go.

“The Scottish Greens enthusiastically took part in the Scottish Government’s cross-party Commission on Local Tax Reform to find an alternative to the Council Tax, contributing our proposal for a Land Value Tax (LVT).

“A Land Value Tax would be payable only on the value of the land itself, not any buildings on top. That means householders wouldn’t be penalised for improving their homes, Landowners would be incentivised to make use of land – for example, for much-needed housebuilding – rather than idly owning land as nothing more than a financial speculation.

“Not only would LVT raise the money we need to save services and jobs, it would tackle the blight of derelict land, alleviate the housing crisis, and help to redress the gross wealth inequality that still exists in Scotland.

“The Commission on Local Tax Reform called Land Value Tax ‘promising’. I urge Nicola to take another look at this promising idea before she gives up and gives in to the hated Council Tax.”

Please sign the Scottish Greens’ petition to scrap the Council Tax – click here.