Local Income Tax

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 Janis Hughes Janis Hughes Labour 2:15 pm, 25th January 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive what personal details would be required for the operation of a local income tax. (S2O-11768)

Photo of Tom McCabe Tom McCabe Labour

The personal details required would depend on the details of the system of local income tax that was proposed. However, it is difficult to see how any such system could operate without precise income data.

Photo of Janis Hughes Janis Hughes Labour

Does the minister believe that people are generally aware that their income data would be available to local authorities? Do they understand the implications of that?

Photo of Tom McCabe Tom McCabe Labour

I do not think that that is widely understood. Members of the public would need to make their own judgment. Individuals are fairly sensitive about who shares knowledge of their income. Perhaps the fact that their local council would be a party to that information will cause people to weigh up and consider the implications of any change in the tax system.

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party

Is not it the case that, under a local income tax, there would be no requirement for local authorities to know any individual's income? That would be a matter for the Inland Revenue. The only additional detail that would be required would be to ensure that everyone's postcode was attached to their address. I suspect that that is already the case for most people.

Photo of Tom McCabe Tom McCabe Labour

The SNP specialises in fantasy policies—once again, it has demonstrated that tendency. The idea that local authorities could, without knowing individuals' personal income data, levy a tax that would bring in the same income that they currently enjoy seems to me to be a fantastic notion.

Photo of Cathie Craigie Cathie Craigie Labour

Regardless of what data are available on ordinary working people, will the minister confirm how much a local income tax would cost an ordinary working family in Lanarkshire?

Photo of Tom McCabe Tom McCabe Labour

Once again, we do not have precise data. However, if we take some of the projections from the Burt report, there is an indication that such a tax could cost hard-working families a bigger proportion of the money that is available to them.