Magazine article Public Finance

Scots Tax 'Breaches EU Treaty'

Magazine article Public Finance

Scots Tax 'Breaches EU Treaty'

Article excerpt

The Scottish Government's plan for a local income tax has suffered a further setback after claims by a leading professor of law that it 'almost certainly' breaches the European Charter of Local Self-Government.

Christopher Himsworth, professor of administrative law at Edinburgh University, told the Scottish Parliament's local government committee on May 28 that the plan for a single rate of tax for all councils was unlikely to comply with the charter.

The professor's claim comes just weeks after the Treasury warned that the Scottish Government did not have the legal powers to introduce a nationally set LIT.

As Public Finance disclosed last month, Treasury sources said the proposal to levy a 3p in the pound tax, set centrally and administered and collected nationally, was 'not a devolved matter in terms of the Scotland Act'.

In a submission to the committee, Himsworth said that when devolution was introduced, the UK government specifically invoked the European charter's terms as providing the standards according to which Scottish local government would be expected to develop.

The charter contained many provisions designed to protect the powers of councils and their freedom to exercise their powers without undue central government restraints. …

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