17 May 2015
The Commission on Local Tax Reform gathers pace, commencing a comprehensive program of evidence gathering events.
The body set up to look at fairer ways of funding local government will this week embark on a comprehensive programme of evidence gathering sessions with a variety of interested individuals and organisations.
The Commission on Local Tax Reform – established jointly by the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) earlier this year – will take evidence from a range of individuals and organisations from across the UK and Ireland in a bid to understand how changes to the way local tax is administered and collected impacts on communities and the delivery of local services.
In addition to the programme of evidence gathering sessions (see below), the Commission is inviting members of the public to participate either by responding to its formal call for evidence or by completing a short online questionnaire.
People will also be able to watch and interact with the commission’s evidence gathering sessions online via live video streaming through the Commission’s website – www.localtaxcommission.scot
Co-Chair of the Commission, Councillor David O’Neill said:
“This Commission is about starting a debate. Thousands of people from all walks of life, and from all sorts of places have already begun to contribute their views to our initial call for evidence. However, we have no intention of stopping there. That’s why we are now starting the next phase in our commitment to listen to people across Scotland and put their views at the heart of our work.
“For example, on May 18th, we are beginning a series of panel sessions involving the people and organisations that can help us get to the bottom of what we’ve heard so far. We’re also determined not to shut anyone out of the debate. That’s why all of our sessions will be available to watch and interact with live at www.localtaxcommission.scot “
Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment and Co-Chair of the Commission Marco Biagi MSP said:
“The present Council Tax is inherently unfair, impacting upon 2.4 million households in Scotland, but contributing £2 billion towards the funding of essential public services. This Commission, which sees joint working across the political divide from local and central government alongside experts and practitioners, has concluded the initial phases and we are now moving to the next stages of our work.
Over the coming couple of months, we will engage with a very wide range of organisations, individuals, academics and commentators as we seek to identify the range of ways alternatives to the existing Council Tax might impact on all households in Scotland. Additionally, we would like to understand what the practical implications of change might be for people and households, and also, how change might impact on a wide spectrum of other concerns including, for example, local democracy, public service delivery and even the numbers of new homes being built.
The work of the Commission will further develop over the summer with a schedule of listening events planned across Scotland.
For further information contact 3×1 Public Relations on 0141 221 0707 (out of hours, Lindsay McGarvie on 07836 569 988).
Notes to Editors
- Access to each webcast will be available from the Commission’s website at http://localtaxcommission.scot/tell-us-what-you-think/oral-evidence-sessions/ and available to watch live or on demand
- Viewers can also ask questions and take part in the debate online during each session
- A list of planned evidence sessions is listed below :
Scottish Property Tax Reform: Comprising interested observers and academics who believe that a well-designed system of property taxation can and should play an important role in public finance, the economy and a fair society.
Learning from previous work: Comprising members of previous commissions or studies focusing on local taxation, including Burt Review, IFS, LGA/CIPFA Review.
The impact of local taxation on households 1: Involving representatives of welfare rights and advice sectors, low income groups and others
The impact of local taxation on households 2: Exploration of the impact of local taxation on individuals and households, including women’s groups, black and ethnic minorities, disability groups and others
The perspective of property professionals: Bringing together representatives from Housing Associations, Developers, and other industry professionals
Society and local taxation: Perspectives from trade unions, faith groups, reform groups, and the third sector on the future of local taxation
Collecting and administering local taxation: Involving professional associations including SOLACE, Directors of Finance, Property Assessors and others to focus on challenges and opportunities associated with local tax reform
Approaches to local taxation in other jurisdictions: Expertise from recent and ongoing modernisation of local taxation in Wales, Northern Ireland, England and the Republic of Ireland
The role of local democracy: Bringing together local elected members to focus on how best to reform local taxation in line with building a stronger democracy
Institutions and professional bodies: Involving professional associations, business groups, policy professionals and other stakeholders to share perspectives on local taxation issues