Magazine article Public Finance

LibDems Back SNP on Income Tax

Magazine article Public Finance

LibDems Back SNP on Income Tax

Article excerpt

The Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats may join forces to bring about the introduction of a local income tax in Scotland.

Scottish LibDem leader Nicol Stephen raised the possibility of a deal between the two parties in a letter to the leader of the SNP, First Mnister Alex Salmond.

'We have a historic opportunity to rid Scotland of the legacy of unfairness that started with the poll tax,' he wrote.

Stephen's overtures were disclosed at the Scottish Liberal Democrats' spring conference at Aviemore last weekend.

His comments followed a report quoting Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell as strongly re-stating the UK government's view that there was no question of Westminster agreeing to a sum of ?400m currently paid in council tax benefit being retained in Scotland if council tax is abolished.

In its costings for a local income tax of 3p in the pound, the SNP included the transfer of the benefit money to the Scottish budget. Finance Secretary John Swinney, responding to Purnell's comments, said: 'The council tax benefit is Scotland's money, plain and simple. …

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