The Council Tax freeze is benefitting
the richest by £1,500 while disabled
people can be £3,000 worse off.
"That needs fixed and it can be done
in Scotland now - we have all the powers
we need", UNISON's Stephen Smellie
told the STUC congress.
The UNISON Scotland motion called for
politicians of all parties to 'stop hiding
from difficult decisions and sort out
fair tax for local services'.
"Local government finance is knackered",
said Stephen. "Why should it not
be when it has been nothing but a political
football for years."
All parties had failed to deal with local
government with respect for local governance
or local services or local communities.
"When middle class ratepayers squealed,
the Tories cancelled the re-evaluation
of property values in the 80s. When the
same people whined about rate rises to
fund schools and roads, the Tories abolished
the rates and gave us the poll tax.
"When business complained.. government
took away councils' powers to levy the
When we revolted against the poll tax
and helped bring down Thatcher, the Tories
rished in the council tax", said
And when Scottish Labour's finance secretary
proposed reform of the tax, "he was
told not to by the UK party in case it
embarrased Labour south of the border."
"First the Tories, then the SNP
and then Labour all promised to freeze
the Council Tax." That temporary
freeze had become a 'permafrost'.
"Local government has no local
powers and can't govern as their ability
to raise funds in response to local needs
has been taken away."
"We need a proper debate on the
future of local government finance",
said Stephen, "through a progressive
A progressive system would tax all income
and wealth with taxes on income and profits
levied nationally along with a fair property
tax at local level.