Scottish Government Draft Spending and Tax Plans 2019-20

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 12th December 2018.

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Photo of Derek Mackay Derek Mackay Scottish National Party

I am pleased that Patrick Harvie welcomes the package of support—no doubt, he is the first—for local government amounting to £11.1 billion, which represents a real-terms increase of more than £210 million in the overall settlement.

In relation to engagement on the council tax, since I have been finance secretary, the Parliament has looked at and provided a critique of the council tax, but there has been no majority in the chamber for an alternative. My pledge, which I have repeatedly made in the chamber, is that I will work with anyone who is interested on what local taxation should look like—it should be fair and progressive—and I am happy to do that engagement in an open and constructive way.

It is important to find consensus, so that we can give stability to local government finances, and it is important that we design a system that is fair and progressive. I remain open to that dialogue and those discussions, which can be on a cross-party basis.