Local Government Funding (Inverclyde)

Scottish Executive — Finance and Public Services and Communities – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 25th January 2007.

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Photo of Duncan McNeil Duncan McNeil Labour 2:15 pm, 25th January 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive whether it believes that working families contribute proportionately to the funding of local public services in Inverclyde. (S2O-11779)

Photo of George Lyon George Lyon Liberal Democrat

We want a local taxation system that is fair and proportionate, not just for working families in Inverclyde but for people right across Scotland. That was why we set up the Burt committee. We are now examining the committee's report and we will make a decision on the way forward in due course and in the light of all the facts.

Photo of Duncan McNeil Duncan McNeil Labour

I express some surprise that the minister does not acknowledge the fact that hard-working families already pay their fair share for the services that we all enjoy. Such families are the backbone of our national and local economy and as such should be valued, not targeted. Would it not therefore be utterly unfair and counterproductive to hit those hard-working families with an extra local income tax bill, as the minister's party and the nationalists propose to do?

Photo of George Lyon George Lyon Liberal Democrat

A number of views have been expressed in the Burt committee's report, one of which—recommendation 3—was that the council tax should not be retained in its current form. As I said in my previous answer, ministers will have to consider all the facts in the committee's report. We will reflect on that and in due course we will produce a way forward.

Photo of Mike Rumbles Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat

Would the minister agree that working families in Inverclyde, as everywhere else, would be better off with the abolition of the council tax and its replacement—rather than an extra tax—by a fair local income tax that is directly related to their ability to pay it?

Photo of George Lyon George Lyon Liberal Democrat

Far be it from me to move from my neutral position on the matter but, as I said, a number of views are expressed in the Burt committee's report. It is up to all members to consider closely the facts that are set out there, to reflect on them and to come to a view on the right way forward. That is what the Scottish ministers intend to do.