With the hugely under-reported decision by the Conservatives to stop matching Labour’s spending plans we may soon see tax cuts back on the UK-wide agenda (or at least a decisive attempt to get borrowing under control). Annabel Goldie has made a decisive move today to put tax cutting on the Scottish political agenda.
A little while ago we published an excellent Platform piece by Derek Brownlee MSP on the great muddle of the SNP’s costly plans for a local income tax. Ms Goldie has today announced that she would divert the £281m subsidy that Alex Salmond plans for the introduction of SLIT (Scottish Local Income Tax) to a £150 council tax cut. Here’s the Scottish Tory leader’s full statement:
“The £281 million that Alex Salmond says he can find to subsidise the SNP’s unfair, unworkable and totally discredited new national income tax would be much better used to cut the Council Tax bills of every one of the two million households in Scotland.
“Today I can announce the cornerstone of Scottish Conservative plans to reform and reduce council tax. We would use the government’s efficiency savings to cut the council tax bill of every Scottish household by £150 meaning two million households – 100% of council tax payers – would be better off and we would still plan to go even further with bigger cuts for our older pensioners.
“Unlike Labour, who are long on rhetoric and short on solutions, this is a totally costed, entirely workable plan. It can be done as soon as the SNP finds the money, which they say they can. Indeed, as soon as they can find even some of that money, we can start cutting bills. This is real help in these hard pressed times.
“So it is time for the truth on the Scottish National Income tax plans. They say that 80% of Scots households would be no worse off under their plans. But to make this claim the SNP has to pump £281million pounds in subsidy into the scheme. The real comparison is not between a subsidised LIT and an unsubsidised council tax, but between both bills cut by the same subsidy. As the enclosed study shows, which is based on the SNP’s own data, the tables have been turned.
“Alex Salmond says he can find the money; Scottish Conservatives can spend it better. In these pressing economic times we don’t need a new tax on work – we need a tax cut for all.”
Congratulations Annabel! Yesterday Essex Tories announced plans for a £200 council tax rebate for low income families and pensioners. It’s your turn soon Mr O…