Magazine article Public Finance

Scots Fume at Delay to Council Tax Report

Magazine article Public Finance

Scots Fume at Delay to Council Tax Report

Article excerpt

Scottish local authorities are fuming at First Minister Jack McConnell's hint that a report on the future of the council tax might be delayed until after the 2007 Holyrood elections.

The report of an inquiry being conducted by an independent committee headed by Sir Peter Burt, the chair of ITV, is due in mid-2006.

But on a campaign visit to Fife, McConnell said he hoped to see the report by the end of the current parliament but was unsure whether it would be completed until after the next Scottish Parliament and local government elections in 2007.

McConnell said: 'You can set targets for these things but it will be in their hands.'

Bodies in favour of retaining council tax, such as the Labour-led Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, fear that a delay could provide the Liberal Democrats with extra time to press for council tax to be scrapped in favour of a local income tax.

They suspect that the Executive would prefer to delay a decision until other bodies, such as the Lyons' review in England, have published their findings. …

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