The Commission on Local Tax Reform: Volume 1 – Just Change: A New Approach to Local Taxation
It has been our privilege to chair the Commission on Local Tax Reform to consider alternatives to the present Council Tax. In presenting this report, we would like to express our sincere thanks to the experts who gave us the benefit of their wise counsel, the people who engaged with us in our oral evidence sessions, those organisations and individuals who responded to our call for written evidence, the many people who participated in our public listening events across Scotland and the thousands who responded to our online survey. We are indebted to you all.
Other bodies have considered alternative means of local taxation, but the Commission on Local Tax Reform is the first to have a membership of representatives from four political parties and from local and central government working alongside experts in public finance, law, housing, welfare and equalities. This alone is a unique and bold statement of intent and we are determined that this work will effect change.
Our approach was evidence based and open minded. All Commissioners sought to explore and understand issues such as why different opinions are held by the public, what the data shows, the experiences of local tax reform in other countries and why some systems of taxation might be more difficult to administer than others.
This report sets out the factual position associated with different systems of local taxation. We do not advocate a single preferred alternative as that ultimately must be a political choice, but we do expect that Scotland will be offered alternative systems of local taxation in the Scottish Parliamentary election in May 2016. Our intention is that this report serves to inform the design of those alternatives – by any political party – and most importantly, also helps the public understand the implications of the choices they are offered.
Marco Biagi MSP,
Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment
Councillor David O’Neill,
President of COSLA