SPTR has produced a briefing on the parties’ policies on domestic local taxation for the 2016 election.

The full briefing can be read here

The main points are:

  • The Council Tax was introduced in 1993 and is based on 1991 property values. It has been frozen since 2007.
  • Previous Scottish governments have abandoned attempts at reforming it.
  • It is widely recognised that the system needs reform and a cross party Commission concluded that a new system must include recurrent property tax, that it was desirable to widen the tax base to include income, and that land value taxes were “promising”.
  • The SNP favours reforming the Council Tax by increasing the tax on more expensive properties, but does not propose a revaluation. It also intends to reform the rebate system.
  • Scottish Labour wish to replace the Council Tax following a revaluation with a flat rate tax per property combined with a property tax set at a proportion of property value, and with a maximum bill.
  • The Scottish Conservatives, who did not participate in the Commission, support some changes to the top two Council Tax bands.
  • The Scottish Liberal Democrats support a land value tax in the longer-term.
  • The Scottish Greens favour a Residential Property Tax based on a percentage of property value paid for by the owners of properties, and leading to a land value tax in the longer-term.
  • RISE support a progressive “Scottish Service Tax” based on income, but would also like to see it combined with a land value tax in the long term.
  • UKIP wish to prevent councils from charging higher rates of Council Tax on empty properties.