The First Minister announced short term changes to local taxation post-election and longer term changes (dates unspecified). The Council Tax is to be amended, not abolished and replaced and the current “freeze” is to end next year. There are no plans for a general revaluation of domestic properties.
The current system is based on a rigid set of multipliers that pivot around Band D, often (though incorrectly) referred to as the ‘average’ rate of Council Tax .On Bands A, B, C, and D the multipliers will remain as they are. For Bands E, F, G, and H they will increase slightly with the highest band changing from a multiplier of 2.0 to 2.45.
- Planned changes to exemptions and reductions were announced in outline , but not yet in detail, and are intended to further protect families with children in lower banded houses, and the lower income occupiers of larger houses: ‘asset rich and cash poor’.
- Councils will in future be allowed to raise Council Tax by a maximum of 3% annually.
- In the longer term there are indications of the government consulting on proposals to enable councils to exchange part of their general grant settlement for an assigned proportion of income tax receipts in their area and the potential of a development land tax. The government will also ‘listen to councils’ on other possible additional taxes though there was no reference to the often mentioned tourist tax.