Date: Wed 1 Feb 2006
Reformed council tax is way ahead - UNISON
UNISON - Scotland's local government union - today (Wednesday)
urged MSPs not to support the replacement of the council tax, but
instead to reform it so it better protects low income households.
In a briefing sent to all MSPs before today's stage 1 debate on
the Scottish Service Tax, the union argues that a property tax is
an important element in overall taxation.
Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser - Policy said "Whilst
it is true that the current Council Tax needs considerable reform
to more accurately reflect peoples circumstances, to replace it
with another income-based tax will hit working couples and families,
and allow many well-off landowners to avoid more tax. You can't
move a property abroad to a tax haven, whereas many landowners stay
abroad and would avoid paying either a service tax or a local income
The union calls for more council tax bands to be introduced both
at the lower and upper levels to more accurately reflect the difference
in wealth. They also say that business rates should be returned
to local councils.
Dave Watson said "In fact a reformed council tax would be a fairer
tax burden than the Service Tax or a local Income tax. Many two-income
households would be worse-off under the service tax than under the
UNISON is also worried that creating another income-based tax threatens
to break the link between those who use local services and elected
Dave Watson said "The temptation to use the current income tax
system to administer a local income-based tax would be irresistible,
and this would centralise further powers and accountability away
from local level. We urge more powers for councils by allowing them
to control business rates, not to remove powers from them by taking
away council tax as well."
The union argues that non-property based taxes would not make the
tax system fairer and urges MSPs to reject the Service tax bill.
Note for Editors:- the MSP Briefing is available on the
UNISONScotland website at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/mspcounciltax.html