Green Tax Policy Advances in Scotland
Greens unveil land tax proposals
The Scottish Green Party recently expanded its number of seats in the Scottish Parliament thanks to advocating for serious land reform policies. Now the party is leading the way with specific proposals to make local taxes fairer. Here is a report based on BBC coverage.
The Scottish Green Party has unveiled plans to scrap the council tax and introduce a levy based on land values.
The Greens' land value tax would be paid locally and would be calculated on the value of land.
Under the system the owners of prime locations would pay more than those owning marginal and run-down land.
The tax could also boost re-generation as owners who develop their land would pay less compared to those speculators who sit on derelict and under-developed land.
Onus on owners
Under the new system, the actual bill would be sent to owners rather than tenants.
Poor pensioners and those on low incomes who own wealthy properties would be able to defer payment and pay the outstanding debt when their property is sold or developed.
The party's proposals are the latest initiative in a growing campaign to ditch the current council tax system introduced by the Tories to replace the community charge.
Green Finance spokesman Mark Ballard claims the new land tax could boost regeneration
Green finance spokesman Mark Ballard said Labour and Liberal Democrat MSPs might back their idea, which would give it a majority in the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Ballard has lodged the proposal in parliament and now needs 11 signatures of support from MSPs before he can draw up a draft Bill and run a public consultation.
He said: "They know they have a problem defending the current council tax system but I think they want to keep a property tax that brings out social and economic benefits and that's where the land tax system comes in."
The party also says the measures would help to cool the overheated housing market and help first-time home buyers.
The proposal has already won the backing of Peter Gibb, the chief executive of social and economic think-tank, the Henry George Foundation.
He said: "We have examined the different options for local government finance in Scotland and believe taxing land values would bring significant economic, social and environmental benefits."
Similar systems of land taxation already operate in Denmark, South Africa, Jamaica and Australia.
The Greens' move came the day after the Scottish Parliament refused to back a Scottish Socialist Party call to dump the council tax and replace it with an income-based Scottish service tax.
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