Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for the North East, Mike Rumbles, continued his attack on the Scottish Governments plans to funnel £47 million pounds of council tax revenue away from Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Councils.
Mr Rumbles welcomed measures to improve the life chances of Scotland’s young people however he reaffirmed his belief that the SNPs stealth tax was the wrong way to raise the funds.
Though SNP spokespeople have stated that only 1 in 4 households across Scotland will see their council tax increase, Mr Rumbles drew attention to the higher value of property in the North East, where almost a third of council tax payers would see their bills rise.
Commenting, Mr Rumbles said:
“SPICe, the independent parliamentary library, have concluded that the SNP governments council tax reforms do nothing to address the repressiveness of local taxation. To suggest otherwise demonstrates that some prefer to ignore facts and keep their heads in the sand.
“Local taxation should be used for local services. To milk the people of the North East for the value of their homes is simply wrong.
“During the Scottish Election, the Liberal Democrats proposed a modest “penny for education”. This would have raised £505 million next year from income tax, with the poorest protected and the wealthiest 12% paying almost half of the revenue generated.
“The Scottish Governments proposals raise £107 million next year, £47 million of this off the backs of two of the country’s most poorly funded local authorities. The North East is being used as a cash cow to curry favour in the Central Belt. Addressing the attainment gap requires the Scottish Government to be bold and use its own powers, not to stab our councils in the back.
No. of properties per council tax band by assessor region - https://www.saa.gov.uk/general_statistics.php?&REPORT_NAME=ct_band#report_list
Key Facts on penny for education/fairer taxation –
A penny for education
- The penny for education would raise £505 million next year.
- Someone earning £100,000 a year will pay 30 times more than someone on the median wage of £23,790. So it is fair.
- Almost half of the money penny for education would raise would be paid for by the richest 12%.
Fairer taxation at a local level
- SPICe have concluded the SNP’s council tax reforms mean it will remain a “regressive” tax. It added that they “fall short of making the Council Tax a ‘proportionate’ tax’.”
- The SNP won’t revalue properties, meaning homes will remain in their current bands which are based on property valuations made in 1991.
- The SNP have ignored 16 out of the 19 recommendations of the cross-party group it set up to reform council tax.
- The SNP could have introduced this change nine years ago. In 2007 Nicola Sturgeon declared the SNP would “abolish the unfair council tax”. She said she would “announce it from the rooftops” and promised it would be the “biggest tax cut for middle Scotland and for pensioners in a generation”.
- Aberdeen still gets less than 81% of the national average per head local authority funding. The SNP promised before the last election there would be an 85% floor. Aberdeen is £18 million short.