In an interview published on the Sunday Post website on 14 November 2015, Nicola Sturgeon was asked about the future of local taxation. The interview was conducted by Andrew Picken and the relevant extract is quoted below.

A cross-party review of the council tax was meant to report back last month but is now not expected before the end of the year with all sides struggling to agree on a conclusion.

The council tax bands have now not been altered since 1991 and are now significantly out of kilter with modern house prices.

However, a revaluation would be highly controversial and electorally unpopular as a similar exercise in Wales put about a third of homes in a higher band.

Much more palatable in an election year would be to shake-up the bands without a revaluation, with the possibility of also introducing new bands at the top end of the market.

This would allow the SNP to follow the approach it took with stamp duty, maintaining the freeze or cutting bills for the lower council tax bands, which affect the majority of Scots and squeezing more money out of those in the higher bands who own more expensive homes.

Grilled about this scenario, Miss Sturgeon said her party had not taken a decision yet over whether the council tax freeze will appear in its 2016 manifesto.

Taking her time to formulate her sentence, she continued: “We will see what the cross-party commission says.

“I am not saying this is going to be our policy, but you could change the bands for council tax without doing a revaluation.

“You could change the proportions between the bands that doesn’t depend on a revaluation.”

Asked if her party’s approach to revamping the council tax will match that taken on the stamp duty changes introduced earlier this year, she said: “The progressive principle will run through all of the decisions we take on tax.

“That is true of stamp duty, it will be true or of council tax or any future proposal on local government finance and it will be true of any decisions we take on income tax.

 

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