Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Loco Income Tax

So Alex Salmond has set out his minority government's programme for the coming year at the heart of which is the local income tax plan. Clearly every party, including the Greens, are opposed to it in someway or another - even the LibDems - and despite some of the more looney comments on the Scotsman's web site it will be difficult for the SNP to get it approved by parliament. Quite a few of their commentators seem to be unaware that the SNP is a minority government. Then again AS knows this and quite likely doesn't care anyway. So much of what the SNP does has nothing to do with governing Scotland today, it is all geared towards gaining independence tomorrow. Anything that pitches David against Goliath is sesn as opportunistic politics by the SNP. Moves are made, speeches are given, comments are offered on everything and every action by the SNP is geared towards trying to show that Scotland would be better with independence. I have no argument with doing that, I'd probably do the same. But it's always best to keep in mind that what we're seeing is not what we're likely to get.

On a more mundane level it's interesting that so many people have come out and said it's the practicalities of a local income tax that are unworkable. Breaking up the Union and running Scotland as an independent country will all be about the enormously complex practicalities and the costs involved with such a break up. I've always argued that I get the emotional idea of independence, but it's the practicalities that scare me. Add to this ego and ambition and the longer this goes on the bloodier it will become.

Presumably under a LIT regime anyone owning a second home in Scotland, whether or not they live in Scotland will not specifically pay anything more for that property. It seems to me that both the Borders and the Highland's councils will see a reduction in their revenue. I wonder how many properties in Scotland are owned by people who live in England? They presumably will not pay a penny.

Loco = wildly irrational

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