Costs and Benefits

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?

10 thoughts on “Costs and Benefits”

  1. “left to their own devices, the Scots would rapidly slip back into the cronyism and authoritarianism that blighted the country before 1707.”

    Given that most Scots are Trots (judging by the MPs sent to Westminster, at least), slipping into cronyism, authoritarianism and economic mismanagement of the Soviet Union in the 1930s would be more apt.

  2. Tim,

    Before the ‘Let the Jocks bugger off” trolls answer the drums in the deep like the orcs of Moria, your analysis that ‘it’s simply not British’ is precisely the point.

    Salmond will do and say anything to try to foment antagonism between the Scots and the English. He doesn’t even care if his arguments, such as the attempt to try and keep the council tax benefit relief once council tax has been abolished, are intellectually inconsistent. He only has one song to sing – and I’m afraid that an independent Scotland would prove what many Scots already fear; left to their own devices, the Scots would rapidly slip back into the cronyism and authoritarianism that blighted the country before 1707.

    Don’t forget what Adam Smith wrote about the Union –

    “By the Union with England, the middling and inferior ranks of people in Scotland gained a compleat deliverance from the power of an aristocracy which had always oppressed them ”

    As it was once, so would it be again.

  3. “Given that most Scots are Trots (judging by the MPs sent to Westminster, at least)”

    Yes and no. The Scottish people are probably a little more to the left than the English but the political parties are, in my experience, much more to the left. Thoughts that veer from the social democrat orthodoxy get you howled down in public discourse and, as a political activist, it’s generally in your interest to pledge allegiance to those colours.

  4. Salmond will do and say anything to try to foment antagonism between the Scots and the English

    Martin, that may be the most intelligent post I’ve read on this subject for quite some time. Absolutely, Salmond will do anything, say anything, to pick a fight with Westminster; especially one he can’t or won’t win, because that lets him cry “The English…….” again. And to use your excellent simile, it’s responded to by the “effin’ English” trolls on the drums in much of Scotland.

    I’m English, and I live in Scotland; one of the most depressing aspects is the moronic, unthinking, knuckledragging auto-responses of a large proportion of Scots over anything to do with England or the English. Unfortunately, it’s being mirrored now in England by similar sentiments fed by elements of the MSM and those in the political establishment who have an interest in seeing attention diverted from funding shortages elsewhere.

    Time to reach for the ropes and search out some convenient lamp-posts.

  5. Ay well I’m not a troll, just a Northumbrian and we don’t like the arrogant Jocks so they can indeed fuck off – fuck right off, fuck them, fuck them, fuck them.

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