Putting council tax reform to bed

The SNP still calls its proposed Council Tax ‘reforms’ radical. But one of Scotland’s leading experts on local government finance disagrees profoundly. This is really about ruffling as few feathers as possible.

SG borrowing to keep the economy buoyant

John Swinney, finance secretary, is about to borrow money to help finance new construction projects and stimulate growth and jobs just when the economy is turning down. It’s a sign of things to come as Holyrood gains more control over tax-and-spend.

Swinney frets – or frits – about SRIT

The row over a 1p rise in income tax or SRIT has for once put the SNP and Scottish Government on the back foot. And that’s before increases in tax allowances kick in. This leaves local services painfully exposed – with worse to come. Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney need to revise their sums.

Scotland through the fiscal looking glass

The Scottish Government has dismissed pressure from Labour to offset cuts in spending on local services with a 1p on the Scottish Rate of Income Tax. It rejects pressure from the Treasury to agree a fiscal framework it say will cost Scots billions. No detriment, it says: but at another’s expense?

Wrong approach to language and integration

David Cameron’s ham-fisted plans to help mainly Muslim women learn English have rightly been condemned for stigmatising people – not least as government funding for teaching English as a second language has been cut. Here the United States rather than Europe may have a better, more liberal process of integration.

Council tax reform: yes but how?

Could the next Scottish Government buck a historical trend and do something about the council tax? Even if they take on the challenge it will not be a quick fix. Ken Mckay considers the options presented by the latest in a long line of commissions recommending council tax reform.