Revaluation should be a zero sum game

jimtoggleJim O’Neill says between the inconsistently applied business rates revaluation and the forcing of council tax rises through the imposition of central funding cuts, the SNP has thoroughly botched property taxes in Scotland.


It is in the very nature of a rates revaluation that the outcome should provide the same income as before. However, because the value of properties change, the amount paid towards that income by any single property owner must change. What should never happen is that the changes are so excessive that they put businesses at risk. Unfortunately this is the very outcome that the Scottish Government has achieved with its latest business rates revaluation.

The weasel words that “it wisnae us, it wis a big boy that ran away” or, to be factual, an independent revaluation by assessors, belies the fact that the rules on which the independent assessors revalued the properties are set by government. So it was John Swinney, long time Finance Minister, who was responsible for setting the rules and for failing to notice that different sectors seem to have been revalued on different bases. And so the stage was set for the hospitality industry, and indeed the NHS, to get hammered while some large office properties, such as the SNP headquarters, enjoyed large rates cuts.

But instead of standing firm on the rules they had set, as soon as Alex Salmond’s favourite hotelier squealed loudly enough about the unfairness of the revaluation, new Finance Minister Derek Mackay went running for the hills and spent £44m of money that he allegedly did not have (since he could not mitigate the cuts to local government any more) to further mitigate the effect of the revaluation. Where has this money come from? What programme has been cut further to give this handout to some 9,500 properties that have suffered from this botched revaluation? Do you think he will tell us? Maybe it just “felt right”.

Mind you, even this change has not satisfied Stuart Spence, the hotelier who tried to start a “can’t pay, won’t pay” campaign. So will we see the Scottish Government take him to court for non-payment? The world waits with bated breath.

This is the second botched job on property taxation from the Scottish Government. Who can forget the headlines attacking the abomination of the Council Tax and the misguided Council Tax freeze? That freeze was only to last one or two years until the brains of the SNP, John Swinney, could work out a local income tax. Ten years, thousands of jobs and lots of key council services lost later, what was the result? Let’s put higher tax costs on the higher bands.

These current bands are based on the valuation of homes made some 24 years ago and valuations have changed substantially since then, in particular the H band, which has extended massively upwards giving a very large tax benefit to the richest in our country. If the Council Tax, or any replacement such as a land value tax, is to be made fairer, the first job must be to conduct a total revaluation of properties in Scotland. Thereafter, the number of bands can be extended to take into account the current width of the H band. By adding I, J and K bands, the mid band becomes F, thus benefiting the poorest and more fairly taxing the richest. Remember, any revaluation should be a zero sum game.

As it is, many of us will be out during the upcoming council elections reminding people living in houses of E band and above that the big rise in their council tax has not been because of any local increase in spending, but due to the cuts imposed directly by the SNP government at Holyrood.

Meanwhile, many of us will remember the “legacy” promises from the outstanding Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Unfortunately, this does not seem to include the Sports Minister, Alison Campbell, who has just announced a “small reduction” of the funding for SportScotland of some 20%. How can we build a healthy sporty country when our Government is cutting the money spent on the promotion of sport by this amount? Whoops! Yet another promise broken by this independence obsessed government.

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6 thoughts on “Revaluation should be a zero sum game

  1. Oh dear oh dear Jim Bob Still way out of touch even with your own party’s smear campaign. The theme this week is “Racism” and how it applies to national self determination not a drivelling fantasy filled rant about taxation the Scottish Government doesn’t actually control or impose.

    No local council is being forced to raise taxation by anybody but themselves. Every Labour council bar none has underspent again so clearly they have no need to raise council tax and only will do so ideologically.

    I don’t recall seeing any reform proposals for business rates in any Labour party manifesto Jim Bob perhaps you can show me if that’s not true?

    What specific rules has John Swinney Set Jim Bob? And why do they affect the Independence of the Independent evaluation by Independent evaluators Jim Bob?

    Still gibbering away happily for England eh Jim Bob?

  2. Jim,
    I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news but when it comes to your ordinary punter, they dont know anything about ‘inconsistently applied business rates revaluation’ or, ‘the forcing of council tax rises through the imposition of central funding cuts’. They dont know about this stuff because they dont want to know about it. They are too busy trying to make a living.
    When it comes to local government the things that are important to people are the basics, as in, what exactly is it that I get for my council tax?
    And Jim, as I say, I dont want to be the bearer of bad epistles but what your prospective voter definitely does not want to hear of is tales of dodgy contracts, as in, between local councillors and family members, corruption and graft, in other words. That is a huge turn off. It is the way to the road marked, “Wipe Out Boulevard”.
    Good comrade, now is not the time to cast stones, now is the hour to baton down the hatches, to circle the wagons and all the other cliches you can think about because May is going to be a sore one.

  3. There is just SO MUCH wrong with Mr O’Neill’s latest diatribe it is difficult to know where to start. Do I start with his bemoaning Council Tax rises due to “SNP Govt cuts” to local Govt budgets when Labour Councils up and down the country are choosing to freeze rates as they are thus indicating they are fine with their allocation (HYPOCRISY)? Do I compare this refusal of Labour Councils to increase taxes themselves with their Party’s insistence the SNP Govt increase income tax or be labelled “austerity junkies (HYPOCRISY)? Do I compare his claim of the SNPs Council Tax freeze being “misguided” when, as I’ve already pointed out, Labour Councils are happy to continue with it now it’s no longer necessary (HYPOCRISY)? And the rest …. no … I’ll get back to real life now and leave Mr O’Neill’s SNP-bad/Labour-good fantasy land behind.

    In short, just another standard, ill informed anti-SNP rant from Labour Hame’s resident jester.

  4. Isn’t it strange that on the only BLIS Scotland site of any note, all the comments are either made by BLIS activists or Pro Indy people? Where are your grass roots contributors? Truth is they don’t exist, the whole Scottish Branch seems to now consists of place men and women who’s sole purpose is the continuation of the British State.

  5. For me the point about the rates revaluation rebellion was it was threatening to put people out of business .That’s why Alec Salmond got stuck in. The Finance Secretary did not see it coming he or his officials should have. Its what we pay them for. Presumably our FM and other ministers were involved when the budget was being drawn up. Why did they not see trouble coming its what we pay them for. This was money that was not allocated because the Scottish Government did not see the problem. So where did the unallocated money come from. I might be wrong but I believe the Greens abstained on that vote .I also think the FM and other SNP politicians left him out to dry on this. Racism I did not see the Mayors speech or read the Record interview. I can tell you the Labour Party does not tolerate racism from its members. If you see or here any of us doing it report us. I have had arguments with strangers who I heard making remarks. Have any of you lot. Local Elections are on us that’s what people will be concentrating on The boring things our people worry about like council tax levels bin collection jobs unemployment the NHS Schools how they are going to live. Party activists from all parties when out with the leaflets canvassing contacting people. Will get told exactly what people think I think we will get told concentrate on local issues . Brexit and Indy keep it for another day. That’s what I think

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