Council tax should be ‘fully devolved’, says think tank

A think tank has found that council tax should be 'fully devolved'. Stock image
A think tank has found that council tax should be 'fully devolved'. Stock image
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Council tax and business rates should be fully devolved to the Capital and other Scottish local authorities, a think tank has said.

Reform Scotland has put forward the proposals as part of a Blueprint For Local Power manifesto before the council elections on May 4.

The think tank argues that local democracy is “eroded” by the current system of taxation, which it argues is “almost entirely outwith the control of elected councillors”.

Among the “radical” reforms proposed is for local authorities to have complete control of the bands and rates for council tax and business rates. Reform Scotland also wants councils to be able to introduce new taxes or scrap existing ones.

Director Geoff Mawdsley said: “Local democracy in Scotland is severely constrained because councils have insufficient power to do what they would like to do and are therefore not genuinely accountable to local voters.

“In large part, that is because local authorities have almost no control over local taxation. The two taxes which are often cited as being ‘local’ – council tax and business rates – are actually heavily centralised.

“If we truly believe that decisions should be made closer to those whom they affect, then we need to rejuvenate local democracy. That’s why we want to see council tax and business rates devolved to local authorities.”