I am grateful to have such an enormous audience to hear this important petition which I wish to present on behalf of 636 residents of the town of Tranent and the neighbouring area in my constituency.
The petition calls on the House to repeal the Scottish poll tax legislation. I cannot think of many issues which have united Scottish public opinion to the same extent as this. The House should take account of the deep sense of outrage that the tax is arousing in Scotland. Tranent is an area which would be severely penalised by the imposition of the poll tax. For example, a family of three adults in a three-apartment house in Lindores drive, who currently pay a rates bill of about £435 a year, would have to pay more than double that figure, £1,050, under the poll tax. Meanwhile, people living in far more prosperous areas would pay substantially less.
I wholeheartedly endorse the terms of the petition from the Belters of Tranent and I support their appeal to the House to repeal this pernicious and dangerous legislation, which is an affront to the principles of democracy and to the nation of Scotland.