John Swinney the SNP Finance Minister has finally announced plans for a Local Income Tax, letting the local authorities set their rates rather than controlling it all from his Edinburgh office. After my ranting on Friday about the Nats not respecting local authorities, this is welcome news. Some are accusing Swinney of making a U-Turn but he is merely realising the problems he created for himself by lifting the core of the Lib Dem idea without many of the more thoroughly worked out difficulties and subtleties.
He is also considering sensible options to exempt students from paying LIT and to make sure it is paid on investment income as well. There has long been a dichotomy about those who are super rich and live off investments contributing regularly to the national taxation bracket. The super rich of course have their team of accountants ensuring they pay the least tax possible, tending towards zero.
Labour of course are up in arms, they don't want fairness in local taxation. You only have to look at their moan in The Fifer a tabloid they have put out in Glenrothes for the by election. They take a household with four earners and complain about the fact that this family will have to pay more for local services. They ignore the fact that in the same street, paying only 25% less Council Tax is the single mum who works her guts out to cope with raising her family.
There is also the young couple who both earn but at a lower rate than the heads of the family in Labour's literature who pay exactly the same Council Tax as the four earners that Labour are moaning about. But of course that is taking a far higher proportion out of their salaries than the four people up the street. The family of four's tax bill is not going to double, as all four of them will have their tax threshold of course, but Labour who are starting to sees flaws in council tax are upset that others have found a fairer system before them and Andy Kerr will do anything to run it down.