Monday 16 February 2004

The Council Tax (Part One)

I can't say that I am too surprised by the results of this poll:
Seven out of 10 Scots think council tax is unfair and should be scrapped, according to a survey.

The System Three poll found that 77% of Scots believe it should be replaced by a tax based on ability to pay.

The poll was commissioned by the Scottish Socialist Party who have plans of their own:
There would be five ascending rates of SST (Scottish Service Tax) based on income.

* Rate 1) Nil. All income under £10,000 is exempt from Scottish Service Tax.
* Rate 2) 4.5 per cent. All income between £10,000 and £30,000 will be taxed at a rate of 4.5 per cent.
* Rate 3) 15 per cent. All income between £30,000 and £50,000 will be taxed at a rate of 15 per cent.
* Rate 4) l8 per cent. All income between £50,000 and £90,000 will be taxed at a rate of 18 per cent.
* Rate 5) 20 per cent. All income above £90,000 will be taxed at a rate of 20 per cent

The comrades have identified winners and losers under this scheme:
Laurie, a self-employed actor, lives with her teenage son in a Band C tenement property in Edinburgh. Last year, she earned just under £10,000. Her Council Tax bill, including a 25 per cent single person's discount is £667.50. Under the Scottish Service Tax she would pay NOTHING. Saving: £55 a month.
Good news for "Laurie", then.

What about "Frederick"?

Frederick is one of Scotland's highest paid chief executives, earning £1,200,000 last year. He lives in a Band H property in Edinburgh with his partner and their children. Their current Council Tax bill is £2,002. Under the Scottish Service Tax they would pay £233,100 a year. Loss: £19,258 a month.
Of course the taxes collected from Frederick and his ilk are meant to pay for most council expenditure. The fact that Frederick will have left the country taking his company and his most productive employees with him may well cause a slight financial hiccup in the glorious People's Scotland. But, hey, we can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, can we? And anyway, cash flows and balance sheets are outmoded bourgeois concepts that should have been done away with long ago.

(I don't suppose that "Frederick" could be the boss of the Royal Bank of Scotland.)