Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Scottish Lib Dems say local income tax must be local

The Herald reports:

The Liberal Democrats are to lay strict conditions on any deal with the SNP on local income tax, insisting that variation by local councils be written into legislation.

Party finance spokesman Jeremy Purvis told The Herald ahead of a negotiating meeting today: "Any bill brought forward has to include, on the face of the bill, the ability of councils to vary the rate."
Purvis is right. As Simon Jenkins said in the Guardian the other day:

Salmond is about to achieve what Nigel Lawson, Kenneth Clarke and Gordon Brown failed to do: kill off a chunk of British local government and render local authorities mere delegates of central power. He wishes to concentrate control in his office and ensure that Scotland's counties, boroughs and communities have no say over their services or spending priorities.
In short, said Jenkins, he is Thatcher in a kilt.

The Liberal Democrats must stop Salmond doing this. We must not become so wedded to our policy goal of scrapping the Council that we forget our deeper belief in local democracy.

It is a question of remembering why you are in politics.

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