Citizens Advice Scotland has responded to the report by the Commission on Local Taxation, which has recommended an end to the Council Tax and its replacement by a fairer system.
CAS Policy Manager Keith Dryburgh says:
“We welcome today’s report, which is based in part on evidence provided by the Scottish CAB service. Council Tax is one of the most common issues on which people seek CAB advice. Last year Scottish CAB advisers dealt with more than 29,000 new issues related to Council Tax. This represents over 100 such issues per working day, or around one Council Tax issue for every 10 people who seek advice from a CAB in Scotland.
“If anything, we believe these figures may under-estimate the impact of Council Tax on people’s lives. The current system is causing too many problems, particularly for low income households. These problems include affordability, the way in which debt is collected, and how the charges are communicated. We made all of this evidence available to the commission and we are pleased it has been taken on board.
“There seems to be a growing consensus that Council Tax has had its day in Scotland. Now the focus must be on building a new system that is fair, clear and affordable.”
CAS does not recommend any particular alternative to the current Council Tax system, but we feel that any new system must follow these four basic principles. It must:
Be transparent and easy to understand
Be sensitive to the impact on low income households
Prevent debts, rather than worsening them
Collect arrears in a fair and proportionate fashion.