Scottish public want council tax to be replaced with an alternative, survey finds

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14th December 2015 12:13 - Local Government

According to the findings of a recent survey of Scottish people, council tax should be removed and replaced with an alternative charge, based Scottish public want council tax to be replaced with an alternative, survey findson income, to protect less well-off Scottish people.

The nationwide survey interviewed around approximately 4,500 people and revealed that 39 per cent of people would like council tax based on property to be abolished and replaced with one which is based on an individual’s ability to pay. A further 13 per cent said that they believe that council tax should be replaced with one that relates to how often residents use local services, whereas another 13 per cent favour council tax.

Co-chair of the Commission on Local Tax Reform, Local Government Minister Marco Biagi, said of the issue: “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.”

The Commission on Local Tax Reform was established in order to find fairer alternatives to council tax, which was implemented in Scotland in 1993.

Every year, the system raised approximately £2.3 billion and also helps to fund local services.

Of those who took part in the survey, the majority said that they believed the current system in Scotland is easy and simple to understand and make a payment; however, it was branded “unfair” with some saying that it “fails to protect those who can’t afford to pay”.

The younger people in the survey (aged between 16 and 34) were found to be more likely to have negative opinions of council tax, as well as those who were on a low income and single individuals.

However, it is important to note that females, those who are unemployed, tenants of a council or housing association and household in low council tax bands were underrepresented in the survey sample.

Approximately 25 per cent of the respondents in the survey said that the existing council tax bands should be reconsidered to reflect the current prices of houses, with an additional bands and thresholds for more expensive properties.

Many of the survey respondents said that should new bands be introduced, they should be smaller and have more graduation between each one in order to provide a “fairer and more progressive system”.

In total, 20 per cent of those who wanted additional bands said that higher tax rates should be introduced for very wealthy households.

Just 4 per cent of the respondents in the survey said that they would like the current council tax freeze to end.

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