Scottish Liberal Democrat business manager Mike Rumbles MSP today said that the SNP must end the council tax rather than entrench it, after it was confirmed that a debate will now take place ahead of the vote on the Scottish Government’s proposal to increase rates this Thursday.
At the Scottish Parliament’s Business Bureau yesterday, Mr Rumbles secured support for suspending normal procedures to allow for a proper debate on the proposal.
The Scottish Government didn’t schedule any additional time. This means that, without the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ intervention, the SNP’s plan to hike rates by at least £100 for those in Band E and above would have been the subject of a debate lasting just six minutes, with only one MSP allowed to speak on behalf of each side of the proposition.
Commenting, Mr Rumbles said:
“The SNP’s stealthy approach to hiking the council tax has been matched by their stealthy approach to getting the changes approved.
“The idea that six minutes would have been enough time for the Parliament to consider the SNP’s £100 million local tax raid is ludicrous.
“The vote on Thursday is hugely significant. Local taxation should be for local services – it’s as simple as that.
“Having funding in place for education is essential but this national stealth tax is not the way to do it. Scottish Liberal Democrats do not propose to hide away from the responsibility of funding our education. A modest penny on income tax for education would be the progressive way to raise £500 million that would truly transform early education, schools and colleges.
“Instead of embedding the Council Tax in Scotland for another decade and seizing even more control over local government finance, the SNP should this week listen to their own advice and scrap it.”