Scottish Greens publish their plans for income and property tax

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 29 March 2016 in News

The Scottish Green Party has set out its proposals to change the income tax bands and replace council tax with a new residential property tax

The Scottish Greens have pledged to use new devolved powers to increase tax on higher end taxpayers and replace the council tax with a residential property tax based on updated property values.

The party’s manifesto will contain plans to replace the 20 per cent basic rate of income tax with two new bands – 18 per cent for the first £7,500 of income above the personal allowance and 22 per cent for income above £19,000.

Meanwhile income above £43,000 would be taxed at 43 per cent and income above £150,000 would be taxed at 60 per cent.

 


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The Greens calculate that, under the plans, everyone earning below the national average would be better off.

Green co-convener Patrick Harvie said: “Public services such as schools and social care and community facilities have been hit hard by cuts from the SNP government on top of 8 years of a regressive council tax freeze.

"Despite arguing for control over income tax, the SNP have failed to seize the opportunity to create a more progressive system to tackle inequality. There is an urgent need and the Scottish Greens are responding to it.

“People on generous salaries, such as MSPs, deserve to pay a fairer share to protect and improve the public services we all rely on. Someone earning less than the average and struggling with the cost of living deserves to keep more of what they earn.”

The party also proposes a five year transition to a residential property tax, during which council tax bills will continue to be issued on the basis of the current system but will reduce by 20 per cent each year. At the same time new property tax liabilities will be phased in by 20 per cent every year.

Valuations for the residential property tax would show both the value of the land under a property and the value of the building itself. The party said this would allow local authorities to vary the weighting between the two, allowing a council to move to an entirely land value-based tax.

The plans include a £10,000 tax-free allowance and relief for households on low and precarious incomes.

Andy Wightman, Green candidate for Lothian, said: “Property owners and tenants are being left in a ridiculous situation by the SNP with a tax based on values from quarter of a century ago. Most people are paying the wrong amount.”

He added: “Our proposal to give local authorities the flexibility to raise revenue in a fair way means they can start to reverse cuts to local services, and take back control from central government. By implementing a property tax with a land value element, we can make strides towards a land value tax that will help make homes more affordable for all.”

The party says its income tax reforms would raise an additional £331m compared to the SNP's proposals for income tax.

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