Monday 16 February 2004

The Council Tax (Part Two)

So, the Scottish Socialists' policy would result in national bankruptcy. What though of the other parties?

The Liberal Democrats want "the rich" to pay more, but not on the same scale as the SSP.

The Nationalists say that:

The SNP want a fair and transparent funding system for local government, which should include a taxation system based on the ability to pay.
Labour is spinning away as expected.

The Tories do seem to understand that the level of spending is a problem:

"The average increase in Council Tax this year is 5%. Contrast that with Tory proposals in Councils where Conservatives were able to offer an alternative and the rise would have been halved to just 2.4%
But why should there be any increase at all?

Graeme Brown gets it:

What is this tax being spent on? The government spin is that it is needed for services. But we know services haven’t improved by 90 per cent in ten years. Perhaps the real reason is that we are bailing out the generous and badly-managed council pension funds with their massive bogus ill-health retirements.
Exactly. As I wrote here:
Let's have a really good look at all those inflation-linked local government pension schemes that seem to allow early retirement for an amazing number of bureaucrats. Private sector pensions have been savaged by this government. Why don't we change the terms of public sector pensions to reduce the benefits to the average enjoyed by folk in the private sector? If that were to be done I bet that council tax could be cut instead of increased.
While we're at it, let's get rid of some of those twenty-five-grand-a-year council outreach workers who concern themselves with the vast, one-eyed, vertically-challenged, trans-gendered, multi-hued community of refugees who have apparently come to Scotland from even more socialist parts of the planet. Let those folk work for a living. I mean the refugees of course - the outrageous outreachers are beyond hope of economic redemption. Council tax finances a mere 25% of local government expenditure. Cut spending by one eighth and we could halve council tax at a stroke.