Plea to scrap council tax and replace it with 'fair' alternative

The current council tax system should be scrapped and alternatives put forward to voters at the Holyrood election in May, the Commission on Local Tax Reform has said.

It considered three replacement options, with one based on property, one on land and the third on income.

But the report did not come out in favour of any one option, instead urging political parties to put forward their proposals ahead of next year's Scottish Parliament ballot.%VIRTUAL-ArticleSidebar-council-stories%

The Commission was set up jointly by the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) to look at "fairer alternatives" to council tax, which has been frozen since 2007.

The current system raises around £2 billion to help pay for local government expenditure such as refuse and recycling, education, roads maintenance and leisure facilities.

The Commission analysed the impact on households of the use of alternative systems to raise a similar amount.

These included a property tax which would be based on the value of the property; a land value tax based on the value of land only; and a local income tax which would raise revenue based on a householder's taxable income.

Marco Biagi, Local Government Minister and co-chair of the Commission, said: "In publishing our report today, we put to the Scottish people the most comprehensive quantitative analysis ever undertaken to understand the links between different forms of local taxation, backed by an extensive programme of public engagement.

"From the outset - having agreed that the present system is unfair and in need of reform - we have worked together in a spirit of consensus to understand the alternatives available to us and to put to the people of Scotland a report that clearly sets out the steps that can be taken to deliver change.

"It is now up to politicians from across the political spectrum to take today's report and to use it to put to the Scottish people alternatives that are fair, workable and empowering for local communities."

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