I\’ve no view either way on this idea of replacing council tax with a local income tax in Scotland. But this I\’m afraid is outrageous:
Alex Salmond\’s plans for a local income tax would cut tens of millions of pounds from NHS and council budgets – enough to employ dozens of teachers and medics, it has been claimed.
Government figures show that it would cost Scotland\’s local authorities, health boards and charities almost £15 million to change their payroll systems to collect the levy, which the SNP wants to set nationally at 3p in the pound.
It would cost them a further £5 million a year to administer the system, by deducting the tax from employees\’ payrolls and forwarding the proceeds to the taxman.
Is that true? Probably so.
The figures have been calculated by civil servants at the Scotland Office amid a growing furore over the SNP\’s plans to replace council tax with a local income tax in 2011.
But horribly, horribly, misleading.
Yes, of course there will be collection costs for a tax. But you\’ve got to do a proper cost benefit analysis, not just look at costs.
How much will be saved by not having to run the council tax collection system?
Her Majesty\’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have so far indicated that they will not collect the levy, meaning a separate and expensive Scottish system for doing so would have to be set up.
And there\’s that as well.
So, what we\’ve got is the usual electoral battle between Labour and the SNP in Scotland. And Labour at the Union level is deliberately stymying an SNP Scottish policy, by insisting (anyone who doubts this is a political decision is being naive) that HMRC doesn\’t do the collecting and then, further, that civil servants in the Scottish Office produce such lop sided and partisan figures.
This simply isn\’t playing the game with any semblance of honesty or honour. Worse, it\’s simply not British.
Can we hang them all yet?