Survey shows clear support for council tax reform

Written by Jenni Davidson on 23 November 2015 in News

Two thirds of respondents to a survey on council tax think it should be replaced with a different system of local taxation

Two thirds of respondents to a survey on council tax think it should be replaced with a different system of local taxation.

While two thirds of those who completed the survey felt that the current system of council tax was easy to understand, a similar proportion also said that the system was unfair.

Over half of the 4,492 respondents said that council tax should be based on income and three quarters disagreed with the statement that everyone should pay the same amount of local tax.


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Opinion was mixed on what an alternative local taxation system should look like, but a hybrid tax based on a mix of property and land value, wealth and income and a review of the existing council tax banding system were among the most common suggestions.

The online survey was set up by the Commission on Local Tax Reform to gauge public opinion as part of its investigation into local government finance.

The commission, which was established jointly by the Scottish Government and COSLA and is co-chaired by Marco Biagi MSP, the minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment, and COSLA president Councillor David O’Neill, is looking into a fairer system of local taxation.

The survey results would “add weight and credibility” to the commission’s findings, Biagi said.

“There is clear consensus from those that we have heard from – whether through this survey, our call for evidence and the public events that have taken place –  that the current system of council tax, while highly visible, is in urgent need of reform,” he said.

O’Neill added: “Each and every one of us is affected by the way we pay for vital local services so the views of those who have responded to our online survey will have a great deal of resonance as we formalise our findings.

“We want to make sure that as many people as possible have had their chance to make their views known, with our forthcoming findings paving the way for an informed debate on the decisions that we will need to take as a country in order to fund local government spending.”

The survey’s findings will be presented alongside responses from the formal call for evidence, oral evidence, public events and the review of international practice in local taxation in the commission’s final report, which is expected within the next few weeks.

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