Monday 9 February 2004

Taxes up again

This time it's the council tax:
COUNCIL taxes across Scotland are set to rise by an average of 5 per cent, according to the Scottish Executive.

Andy Kerr, the finance minister, said estimates submitted by local authorities indicated an above-inflation rise in most council areas.

And he said he would have "very grave concerns" if any local authority exceeded these figures when new levels are announced on Thursday.

I read elsewhere today that inflation is now running at 1.3% under the government's latest definition. Shouldn't a 5% tax increase cause Mr Kerr "grave concern", not to mention the 15% in poor old Moray? I certainly think so and will make a modest suggestion. 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.