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This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.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 14 March 2007

Scotland's local government union attacks SNP funding plans

UNISON, the union that represents Scottish local government workers today attacked new plans outlined by the SNP for a centralised tax system to fund local government.

The union said the proposals would remove decisions and fund-raising powers further away from local people. The union also said that the proposed level of the nation-wide tax would leave a £450m hole in local government services.

Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser - Policy said "UNISON believes local government should have more, not less control over its finances. Currently local government only controls 20% of the money it needs to provide services, and 80% is provided centrally. Financial experts and those who stand up for local democracy are unanimous that the link between raising their own funds and deciding their own services is key to having local councils accountable to their voters. Apparently the SNP want to remove that accountability completely. Whilst at a UK level they advocate decisions being taken closer to home, in Scotland they seem to want to concentrate decisions centrally.

"What is really happening is that the SNP has accepted that replacing council tax with local income tax will be too difficult to collect and will hit working families. So they have now decided to set a national rate of 3p in the pound and collect the tax centrally. Not only is this an attack on local democracy, it leaves a £450million gap in local government finance. This is the equivalent of 10 classroom assistants for every school in Scotland"

The independent review of local government finance estimated that in order to meet current spending local income tax would need to be set at a rate of 6.5%, but this rate will hit working families. Hence this lower rate of 3%. However this in turn means a cut of £450million in public services.

Funding local government via a centralised tax means local councils will have virtually no power to set their own budgets. They would become simply administrators of Executive decisions. It will also break the direct link between those who pay for services and their councillor.


For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish organiser - Policy) 07958 122 409 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)