Views from public sought on future of council tax

The Scottish people are being asked to make their views known on the future of local taxation in Scotland as the independent, cross-party body set up to look at fairer ways of funding local government launched a call for evidence.

The Commission on Local Tax Reform is asking members of the public and interested organisations to respond to either its formal call for evidence - for those wishing to offer a detailed view of the present Council Tax and the alternatives – or by completing a short online survey.

Both the on-line questionnaire –intended to take no more than 5 minutes – and the call for evidence are available via the commission’s website – www.localtaxcommission.scot

The Commission, which is co-chaired by Marco Biagi MSP, Minister for Local Government and Councillor David O’Neill, President of COSLA, began work earlier this year. It is expected to report to the Scottish Government and COSLA this autumn, in advance of the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections.

Mr Biagi said: “This unique Commission sees experts and practitioners together with MSPs and representatives from local government who are working across the political divide to examine alternative systems of local taxation.

The present Council Tax is universally acknowledged as being unfair, but our public services depend upon the £2 billion of funding it delivers each year. The views of Scotland’s 2.4 million Council Tax payers are fundamental to our understanding of other potential systems and their likely success.

Nearly every household in Scotland is liable for Council Tax, but nobody has ever asked the public how they might best contribute to the funding of public services.”

Cllr O’Neill added: “Today we have started a process to find out what it would take to develop a better system of local taxation in Scotland. There is a lot to play for and that’s why we are asking new questions about what happens now and what the future might be. I know that these issues really matter to people across Scotland, and we’ll be listening closely to what we hear. Over the coming months we’ll be putting in place many other ways in which people can meet us and share their ideas- in fact, we want to hear about how we should do this”.”

Respondents can complete the on-line questionnaire at any time, while replies to the formal call for evidence are required by Monday 22nd June.