‘Raise money and let the people decide how to spend it’

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COUNCILS should be responsible for raising all the money they spend and have the power to introduce taxes, a think-tank will propose tomorrow.

Right-of-centre Reform Scotland said under its plan, local authorities, responding to local needs, could decide to adopt a property tax – such as council tax – a land value tax, an income tax, a consumption tax, or a basket containing a number of taxes.

The think-tank argues local accountability would be boosted, democracy would flourish and local elections would matter.

Reform Scotland chairman Ben Thomson said: “No-one likes paying taxes, however, what people really dislike more is seeing their money spent inefficiently and with little accountability.

“If more taxes were the responsibility of local councils then they would become more accountable to the communities they serve and create a real change of culture leading towards more effective government.

“Therefore, if a council felt their residents’ preferences and the local economic circumstances dictated that council tax should be abolished and replaced with an income tax, sales tax or something else entirely, they should be allowed to do just that.

“Councils would bear the risk, but also reap the reward of the decisions they make. Local people would be much closer to the decision-making process.”