SBC’s deputy leader to help look at local tax reform

Local councillor Catriona Bhatia at Old Manor Brig which has been handed over to Wemyss and March Estate.
Local councillor Catriona Bhatia at Old Manor Brig which has been handed over to Wemyss and March Estate.

Councillor Catriona Bhatia, Leader of Liberal Democrat Group and Deputy Leader, Scottish Borders Council, has been appointed to the Commission on Local Tax Reform to look at fairer systems of local taxation.

Eleven representatives of political parties and the finance, law and advice sectors will examine alternatives to the council tax to fund local government services.

The Commission will be co-chaired by Local Government Minister Marco Biagi and President of COSLA Councillor David O’Neill. The Commission met for first time on Monday and will report to the Scottish Government and COSLA in the autumn.

Marco Biagi said: “The Scottish Government believes the current council tax system is unfair and we are acting on our manifesto commitment, and the recommendations of the Local Government and Regeneration Committee, to look at alternative approaches to local taxation.

“The Commission will consider progressive, workable and fair systems, taking into account domestic and international evidence on tax powers and wealth distribution, the autonomy and accountability of local government and the impact on individuals who pay the tax. The members bring a broad range of expertise and experience.”