Sunday, 31 January 2010

Tories to Copy Tartan Tories

The Observer reports that (here) the Conservatives are intending to copy the SNP policy of freezing Council Tax.

The article concentrates on how this pledge collides with the Tories' other pledges on cutting spending and limiting tax increases. The paper does not give an in-depth analysis of the costs of the policy, but it would certainly cost at least £1.5 billions/year to extend the freeze to England and Wales.

Of course, there are other problems with the Council Tax freeze as implemented by the SNP, and these are becoming acute with the budgetary limitations on councils that are becoming necessary due to the recession.

The freeze has meant that councils have not been able to raise the tax as they may have wanted in order to pay for vital services. Now they face budget cuts: cuts which may have been unnecessary or at least limited by reasonable tax rises over the last three years.

Tax cutting is a favourite policy of all right-wing parties, specifically the Tories and the SNP, and it can appear attractive as a slogan, but in the end it's the vital and necessary services to the community that suffer.

No money equals no services: try explaining that to ordinary people who depend on these services, and who suffer when services are cut or even cancelled altogether.


  1. Try explaining to a pensioner on a fixed income why their council tax has to increase because Labour opposed a local income tax.

    Don't pretend you believe in progressive taxation. You increased the tax on low paid people by cutting the 10p tax rate and you opposed local income tax on the grounds that it would drive high earners away.

    You and the Tories both support council tax despite the fact that it bears no relationship to ability to pay.

    Stop kidding yourself that Labour is remotely left wing.

  2. Indy, such a short letter, so many mistakes...

    Labour did not have to "oppose" the SNP's LIT.

    In fact there never was a concrete proposal for the LIT. There was a manifesto commitment to introduce the LIT, but the SNP never did bring forward a Local Income Tax Bill, because it was never a reasonable prospect in the first place.

    The LIT was the usual SNP promise made on a wing and a prayer (think abolish student debt, class sizes of 18, matching the school-building programme "brick for brick, loans for first-time buyers..etc) with no depth of thought or analysis.

    The LIT failed because of its own contradictions, not because of any political opposition, although any sensible person, politician or not, would be want to point out the failings of the idea of a LIT.

    A cynic would say the promise to introduce a Local Income Tax was a straightforward lie, but I'm not a cynic: I think it was just the usual SNP stupidity.

    Take your pick: fools or knaves..

    As for "You and the Tories both support council tax despite the fact that it bears no relationship to ability to pay"....

    ...did you read the post?

    It points out that the Tories want to freeze the Council Tax...just as the nats have done.

    It's the right-wing parties, the SNP and the Tories, that cling to tax cuts and the subsequent cuts in services for pensioners and others in need.

  3. Labour opposed local income tax on a number of grounds including that would drive away high earners.

    You support the council tax, just like the Tories.

    The only difference appears to be that while the Tories say they want to freeze it you appear to want to increase it.

    Good luck campaigning on that one.

  4. Indy,
    the Local Income Tax was never a workable prospect: it is too complicated to implement, unclear in how it is applied (e.g. to second homes and living and working in different council areas), it is too expensive to administer, it's too easy to avoid, it has a lower % recovery than the Council Tax and it may even be illegal.

    It was LibDem policy for years! That fact should be enough in itself to make anyone wary...

    ...and the SNP put it in their manifesto without a workable plan to implement it...'s a dog.

    You may love it Indy, but John Swinney has cut the dog loose.

    It's now a homeless, scurvy, mangy and abandoned mutt.

    As for who supports the Council Tax, it might not be ideal, but the SNP, Conservatives and Labour all support it now, in the absence of an realistic alternative.

    At the 2007 Council and Holyrood elections Labour had a policy of increasing the Council Tax at slightly above inflation to pay for services. I have no reason to beleive that the policy has changed.

    The SNP and the Tories now endorse Council Tax but, as befits the two right-wing, tax and service cutting parties, the Conservatives and the SNP now have the same policy approach: i.e. freeze the Council Tax, and let services suffer.