UNISONScotland www
This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.
For the new website please go to
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK




Sponsorship Comms Index Communications Forum Campaigns News Scotland inUNISON Press Releases


Communications Index | Press releases | Scotland inUNISON | Campaigns


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 tax."

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 council tax."

UNISON is also worried that creating another income-based tax threatens to break the link between those who use local services and elected councillors.

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