Local Government Finance

Part of Question Time — Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 22nd January 2004.

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Photo of Andy Kerr Andy Kerr Labour 2:30 pm, 22nd January 2004

We want the review of local government finance to be extensive. It is evident—and the Tories know this only too well—that jumping into solutions for local taxation and its relationship to local government is not a good thing to do. The poll tax is a good example of why things should not be done in a hurry.

I am looking forward to the day when we get the chance to expose not only Mr Sheridan's proposals but the other proposals as well. I do not stand here as an apologist for the council tax. I stand here as someone who says that we can reform the council tax and perhaps make it work. That needs to be scrutinised, as do all the other proposals from members in the chamber, such as the local income tax and the Scottish service tax—I am not sure where the Scottish National Party or the Tories are on this. However, let us hear ideas on taxation. Let us play the ideas out in public and test them to destruction. The last thing that I want to do is to put a tax on the Scottish people that works like the poll tax.