Labour in council tax chaos - What have they got to hide?

Four wasted years show Labour not up to job of Government

The SNP has today branded Labour’s council tax plans as chaos and condemned the party’s four wasted years of searching for new forms of local taxation – time during which Labour could have supported fair local taxation and backed the SNP’s Local Income Tax.

This weekend signalled that Labour’s policy to replace the council tax with a new property tax was in disarray after they had continually promised that they would soon be publishing their plans and that they would be a key part of their election campaign next year.  

  • In October 2008 Iain Gray admitted their plans in 2007 ‘didn’t add up’ and that they would not make their new plans ‘on the back of a fag packet’.
  • In March 2009 Iain Gray announced that a working group had been set up by finance spokesman Andy Kerr to study the issue.
  • By August 2009 it was reported that the policy would ‘form a key part of the party’s campaign and manifesto for the 2011 Holyrood election’ and would be ‘revealed in the coming months’.
  • Yet by August 2010 no plans had yet been published and Labour MSPs were warning Iain Gray that they needed ‘a coherent policy’. An MSP close to the leadership predicted that details would emerge in October at their Oban conference.
  • In the interim Labour indicates support for council tax to be increased by 3%
  • But by October 2010 at the Labour conference the working group was in the hands of Michael McMahon who said it was ‘finalising its report’
  • December 2010 still no finalised report and Labour is saying that its ‘plans will be published in our manifesto’.

Commenting SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said:

"Labour are at sixes and sevens over local taxation. They have had years to come up with their plans and now say they will only publish weeks before an election. What are they hiding?

"Labour have spent the best part of eight years promising to reform or replace the unfair council tax, and have come up with nothing apart from a disastrous idea to impose a basket of new local taxes on top of the council tax.

“They don't have a credible alternative. They have an uncosted wish-list of too-good-to-be-true policies and Scotland. Their council tax confusion shows they are inexperienced and inconsistent.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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