- Council Tax should be replaced by an alternative that is fair, efficient, and responsive to real-world economic changes.
- The Council needs to be more enterprising.
- The Moray Council should join a national campaign by local authorities in support of radical reform to local government finance.
- Consult on establishing arms’ length companies to manage key resources like culture & leisure, property management, and parking,
When the SNP first came to power ten years ago, they promised to scrap the unfair Council Tax. Fifteen years later we’re still waiting. Not only has the SNP failed to deliver on their clear commitment to scrap the Council Tax, but they’re also now forcing Councils to increase it!
We believe that the present system of financing local government is unsustainable. This is not simply our opinion, but the opinion of the Scottish Government’s own Local Tax Commission. Despite this, the arrogant SNP have elected to maintain the status quo, and attempt to foist blame onto local authorities when this inadequate system of financing local government comes up short.
Effective change can only be brought about through concerted action by local government to compel the SNP in Edinburgh to pursue real reform. Moray Labour Councillors will press the Council to join a collective campaign by local authorities to change to a fairer and more sustainable way of financing local government.
Business Rates is an absurd tax. Despite being a purportedly local tax, local authorities have no role in either setting the rate or collecting the revenue. Furthermore, the Small Business Bonus Scheme creates a cliff-edge where one local business can end up paying thousands of pounds in rates while a near-identical business pays nothing whatsoever. It is Labour Party policy to scrap business rates and replace them with an alternative that is fairer and that incentivises local businesses to invest and grow. Moray’s Labour Councillors will wholeheartedly support this policy and urge the Council to adopt this policy too.
We will pursue the development of new municipal enterprises in Moray to generate income and offset the impact of austerity. Under our plan, the operating surplus of new enterprises will be reinvested in the community. Our work will be informed by expert advice and successful examples from across the UK. We will ensure the highest standards of probity in any new income-generating activity.
This municipal entrepreneurship will not be based on charging citizens for using the services they are today entitled to free at the point of need. Nor will it be based on pure commercialisation. Our in-house public enterprises will work in the public interest and for the public good.
Many local authorities have successfully utilised arm’s length external organisations (‘ALEOs’) to provide better value and improve service levels. Audit Scotland has found that ALEOs “have brought benefits but need to be managed carefully”. Moray’s Labour Councillors will cautiously consider the use of ALEOs to enhance service provision and deliver efficiencies in non-core services, such as leisure and parking.