STUC: Rally in Falkirk calling for council tax to be scrapped to protect public services

Falkirk trade union members will take to the streets on Saturday as part of a national campaign to protect public services and improve how they are provided.
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The day of action has been called by the Scottish Trades Union Congress who say this means scrapping the council tax and improving the tax system.

Events are taking place across the country. In Falkirk a rally will be held at the east end of the High Street at 11am. Speakers will include MSP Richard Leonard, Councillor Euan Stainbank and Lewis Clark of the Fire Brigades Union, currently in dispute over cuts to fire and rescue services.

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Union members will then hand out leaflets at various points and speak to members of the public about the campaign’s aims.

Fire and Rescue Service cuts are one area of concern for the STUC campagin. Pic: ContributedFire and Rescue Service cuts are one area of concern for the STUC campagin. Pic: Contributed
Fire and Rescue Service cuts are one area of concern for the STUC campagin. Pic: Contributed

Falkirk Trades Union Council chair Mark Paterson said: “There is no shortage of wealth in Scotland to fund decent public services. But the council tax is unfair, inadequate and outdated. Replacing the council tax with a progressive local tax such as a property tax could raise more than £800 million.

“It is also an unfair tax, households in high value houses pay far less as a proportion of their property wealth than this in lower value homes.

“The council tax only accounts for 18 per cent of council revenue, leaving councils dependent on central government funding. In Sweden 30 per cent of all taxes are levied by local government. In Scotland it is eight per cent. You can’t have Scandinavian public services on Scottish tax levels.

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“It is also outdated. The last property valuation was undertaken in 1991.”

He added: “The Scottish Government has the power to introduce a tax on wealth, provided it is implemented as part of the local tax system. This could raise almost £1.5 billion a year.“It could raise £800 million through changes to income tax by asking those earning above £40,000 a year to pay a little more. And it could save hundreds of millions by removing tax cuts that are given to business through rates relief.

“We need our politicians, from all parties that claim to be progressive, to be prepared to tax the rich and fund public services properly.”