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Posted
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
    28 minutes ago, NorthernRab said:

    Mildly amusing.

    He did ask for it. As I understand it, for point of order, members can speak up to 3 minutes on it, but must within ~30s declare what the point of order actually is; Kelly failed to do this and after nearly a minute of party political guff was asked to state what the point of order was. Failed to do it after repeated polite requests, instead doing the usual Labour arrogance thing and, well, the rest is history. 

    --

    I'm more interested today in the really rather good OECD appraisal of the CfE. SNP Government invited OECD to have a look and advise.

    And I should note the CfE is a cross-party thing developed by consensus. Not that you'd maybe guess that recently if you didn't know as...

    If you read the papers, the education system is in crisis, with at least half the electorate so stupid they can't understand that SNP = bad. Which is of course all the SNP's fault.

    Anyway, very worth a scan, at least of the exec sum:

    Quote

     

    http://www.oecd.org/edu/Improving-Schools-in-Scotland-An-OECD-Perspective.pdf

    The Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) is an important reform to put in place a
    coherent 3-18 curriculum. It privileges learning and a holistic understanding of what it
    means to be a young Scot growing up in today’s world. At its heart are the four
    fundamental capacities: i) Successful Learners, ii) Confident Individuals, iii) Responsible
    Citizens, and, iv) Effective Contributors. Up to around age 15, the aim is to lay the
    foundations for lifetimes of learning through Broad General Education (BGE),
    incorporating primary and the first stages of secondary schooling but also early learning
    from age 3 onwards. BGE is the main object of this OECD review. 

    There is a great deal to be positive about in such a review: learners are enthusiastic
    and motivated, teachers are engaged and professional, and system leaders are highly
    committed. There has been intensive activity to create suites of support materials and a
    drive to address excessive bureaucracy. There have been extensive professional learning
    events organised throughout Scotland. CfE has been anchored in consensus and a wider
    set of parallel reforms. These include teacher education, extensive work on qualifications
    and vocational educational and training, and the establishment of a National Parents
    Forum and a new Leadership College. 

    Positive developments

    Levels of academic achievement are above international averages in science and reading as measured by PISA, while similar to the average in mathematics. Achievement levels are spread relatively equally. Since 2003, Scotland has been among the OECD countries with the most equal scores of mathematics achievements among 15-year-olds.

    Scottish students are “resilient” (those from the bottom SES quarter who perform in the top quarter of international achievement). Around 8% of Scottish students, higher than the international average, were identified as “resilient” in 2012. Scottish schools are inclusive.

    Scottish schools do very well on measures of social inclusion and mix, along with Finland, Norway and Sweden. Scottish immigrant students achieve at higher levels than their non-immigrant peers, and Scotland enjoys one of the smallest proportions of low performers among its immigrant students. There are clear upward trends in attainments and positive destinations. Over 9 in 10 of school leavers entered a positive follow-up destination in 2014, and nearly two-thirds of school leavers continue on in education. There has been a continuous upward trend in recent years. There are positive attitudes and connections.

    The large majority of Scottish students feel connected to their school environment and hold positive attitudes towards school. At least three in four Scottish students say that they get along with their teachers, teachers take students seriously, and teachers are a source of support. Risk behaviour is improving. There have been noticeable drops in school-age teenage smoking and alcohol consumption.

    Over two-thirds of Scottish teenagers positively assess the support they get on this from their school. Disruptive behaviour is considered by teachers to be in decline.... 

     

    Some lessons to be learned / concerns in there too of course, but overall, good stuff for what has been a radical overhaul in times of increasingly tight budgets.

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    And that ignorant, offensive, rant sums up exactly why the YES campaign failed  

    Good god. What a load of boarish spiteful bile from bad losers has been posted during the night. I actually dread to think how Scotland would be run if this is representative of how the yes vote behav

    I'm disappointed in the lack of grace shown by some across the net in accepting this No vote. A complete lack of any empathy and understanding as to why fellow Scots didn't vote Yes.   I personally

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl

    In the meantime, arch unionist and Blairite Daisley at STV sticks the boot in on Kelly...

    Quote

    Ooch.

    Labour and the SNP are in full agreement on this one, i.e. that the Tory trade union bill is not welcome in Scotland. I suspect Kelly was going to try a cheap political anti-SNP stunt with his point of order and it backfired big style...

    Edited by scottish skier
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    Posted
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl

    I must admit I feel I'm living in a parallel universe sometimes.

    Labour campaigned as hard as they could for years for Scotland to get an English Tory government and massive austerity. 

    They succeeded, clapping and cheering their success with great joy in September 2014. They even promised if they were elected and not the Tories in the May GE, they'd match Tory austerity.

    Now they are attacking the Scottish government for having to make cuts that they campaigned for.

    It's surreal. They've become a parody of a failed party.

    I mean you also have Jackie Baillie on the radio saying Swinney could end austerity tomorrow but won't. However, when she was asked if Labour would raise taxes on the poor to fund this end to austerity (which Swinney would need to do as Holyrood doesn't have the power to alter bands as yet) she said no. She also then went on to agree that Swinney couldn't really end austerity as current limited powers were a 'straight jacket' while simultaneously saying he was able to. At least that's the only sense I could make of it.

    Do they think Scots zip up the back?

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    Posted
  • Location: Tullynessle/Inverurie
  • Weather Preferences: Cold and snowy or warm and dry
  • Location: Tullynessle/Inverurie

    I heard the Ballie interview on my way home from work. You're not wrong in what she heard, she really did claim he could tackle austerity whilst admitting he was working constrained by a straightjacket. Also yet another attack on the SNP whilst steadfastly refusing to provide even one suggestion when asked what they would have done differently. 

    Oh and Tory chap on just after her wasn't much better. His line was that Swinney can't now complain about Westminster austerity as he could have done something to combat it ie raise the Scottish income tax level,  but didn't. When asked if he thought Swinney should have raised it he said no, he was right not to. Wtf? 

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
    59 minutes ago, Ravelin said:

    Oh and Tory chap on just after her wasn't much better. His line was that Swinney can't now complain about Westminster austerity as he could have done something to combat it ie raise the Scottish income tax level,  but didn't. When asked if he thought Swinney should have raised it he said no, he was right not to. Wtf? 

    I just changed over when Murdo came on. I don't recall ever hearing anything worth of listening to from the guy, so that's fairly automatic. Seems I called it right once again.

    Edited by scottish skier
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    Posted
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl

    I see Labour are attacking the SNP on the continued progressive policy of a council tax freeze (even thought they say they'd not change it).

    For clarity:

    Quote

    https://mohkohn.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/everything-you-know-about-the-council-tax-freeze-is-wrong/

    Everything you know about the council tax freeze is wrong

    Labour continually claim that the Council Tax freeze is regressive (bad for the poor), and that it is the cause of cuts to council services. I’m not sure if they are lying or just stupid.

    It should be remembered that the council tax is only a slight variation on the poll tax. The owner of giant mansion pays just three times as much tax as the owner of a one bedroom council flat. Wings Over Scotland reported last year on an academic finding that “raising Council Taxes actually raises inequality.” Council Tax is regressive, and freezing it helps the poor...

    ...In fact, that SNP have reduced a regressive tax on homes and increased a tax on businesses. Tartan Tories, my weeble.

    And of course the SNP have council tax under review with the aim of replacing it with a more progressive / fair tax system.

    Edited by scottish skier
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    Posted
  • Location: NH7256
  • Weather Preferences: where's my vote?
  • Location: NH7256

    Ms HC got a nice Xmas present from her employer yesterday - an invitation to become unemployed, with Highland schools reducing to 4.5 days a week.  Don't worry though, it's not the fault of the Scottish gov't, it's all to do with complicated fund-raising limits imposed by the Tories.  Carry on as normal.

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
    33 minutes ago, Hairy Celt said:

    Ms HC got a nice Xmas present from her employer yesterday - an invitation to become unemployed, with Highland schools reducing to 4.5 days a week.  Don't worry though, it's not the fault of the Scottish gov't, it's all to do with complicated fund-raising limits imposed by the Tories.  Carry on as normal.

    Well at least she has the choice (voluntary redundancy*)? And if not councils, where else must these be? Labour seem reluctant to say where. Maybe the NHS?

    Thousands of my colleagues in Aberdeen have not had the choice at all. But hey, that UK oil fund is ready and waiting to invest in long term development ready for the rebound while promoting new industries for them to work in during the downturn right?

    I note Labour will not be putting 'raise taxes on the lowest earners#' in their manifesto for May 16; that's what they'd have to do if they wanted to use the limited powers Holyrood has to raise more tax. Nor are they proposing to hit the lowest earners disproportionately with a council tax rise (which would actually reduce council revenue due to the way it works). Likewise, they can't borrow, nor e.g. put up VAT, nor increase corporation tax... nor do all the things a regular government might do to try and raise revenue and do so more fairly.

    In a few years we might get control of income taxes and bands with our super duper devo nano mini. That would allow raising income tax on those earning a decent wage progressively, while not having to do so for those on the lowest wages. I'm ready to pay a bit more and will vote for that happily.

    It would still be a very blunt instrument without full control of all other taxes though.

    But then that's what people voted for back in September 2014. For 'protection of oil jobs' and devo super max.... a Tory majority, austerity, more middle eastern adventures, likely Brexit etc...

    #UKOK

    ---

    *If not, then I greatly sympathise, as I do with colleagues who've lost their jobs in the downturn.

    ---

    #Hey, just realised. Swinney can increase tax credits to compensate here surely? Oh, no. Labour voted with the Tories against the SNP motion to devolve that power and full control of welfare, tax and spending to Holyrood.

    Edited by scottish skier
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    Posted
  • Location: Tullynessle/Inverurie
  • Weather Preferences: Cold and snowy or warm and dry
  • Location: Tullynessle/Inverurie
    1 hour ago, Hairy Celt said:

    Ms HC got a nice Xmas present from her employer yesterday - an invitation to become unemployed, with Highland schools reducing to 4.5 days a week.  Don't worry though, it's not the fault of the Scottish gov't, it's all to do with complicated fund-raising limits imposed by the Tories.  Carry on as normal.

    Hopefully those who want to take redundancy, or reduce hours (which I believe is part of the offer) will take up the offer and no one will be forced to do either. Hopefully services can be maintained too, but It must be becoming increasingly difficult. Personally, although it might have been a good idea to start with, I'm becoming increasingly doubtful that the continued 'council tax freeze' is sustainable. I agree though that as a local tax system it's far from ideal, some sort of local income tax might be a better way of funding local services (assuming you can ensure the retired wealthy pay their way).

    I doubt the 4.5 day school week will ever be implemented. There will be huge opposition from parents for a start, who will bear the burden of having to find and fund additional out of school care, especially for Primary School children. Just how much will the council save by closing a school for a half-day? They'll still be paying the teachers the same, still heating the school up for the day, still busing pupils to and from school, still providing school lunches etc. I really can't see where the savings are to be found.

    I'm note sure any flavor of government at Holyrood would be able to do much differently at the moment, and none of the oppositions parties seem to have proposed any alternatives to Swinney's budget that I have seen. The reality at the moment is that you either increase taxes or try to squeeze more out of a reducing amount of 'pocket money'. Between a rock and a hard place really. Personally I'd increase taxes, but as SS said, without control over tax bands and rates within bands and other forms of taxation you're trying to work with one hand tied behind your back.

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl

    And something to rememeber when thinking about what to vote next May.

    Dave and the Tories in London really, really, really want you to vote Lab / Lib / Con and make sure the SNP / pro-indy parties don't get a majority.

    That would be all their Christmases come at once. They have a majority in London and Scotland is neutered.

    Can go right ahead with more cuts to Scotland's budget which would make the current slashing seem lovely and fun by comparison.

    Could forget about new power too. I mean if people have voted No then ousted the SNP from majority, that must mean they're happy with the status quo right? Then there's the EU; with the SNP rejected Scotland can be dragged out even if it votes stay...

    Lab/Con/Lib want that too. They don't care about the damage it would cause. Years of a helpless Scotland being crapped all over in an 80's revival is preferable to them than Scotland self governing.

    Anyway, keep that in mind for it is the situation and it can't be changed. 

    With an SNP/pro-indy majority, Scotland has some bargaining chips. Without that, it has none.

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    Posted
  • Location: Tullynessle/Inverurie
  • Weather Preferences: Cold and snowy or warm and dry
  • Location: Tullynessle/Inverurie

    It was 'right decision' to delay bridge repair work

    IT WAS the "right decision" to postpone repair work on the Forth Road Bridge until the new Queensferry Crossing opens next year.

    That's according to Dunfermline Lib Dem councillor Tony Martin, the last convener of the authority that was in charge of maintaining the 51-year-old structure.

    That decision has now backfired spectacularly but he insisted that if the expert advice in 2010 had been that the work could not wait, the project would have gone ahead and the underfire Scottish Government would have paid for it.

    Cllr Martin said: "Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If we had decided to do this work, the same people that are complaining about the congestion now would be saying: 'Why are you doing all this work and causing all these delays when a new bridge will open soon?'

    "Of course it's an overstressed bridge and because of that it's likely that things could go wrong but the decisions were not taken lightly.

    "If we had needed to do the work there and then they would have told us to do it. And we'd have got the money for it."

    http://www.centralfifetimes.com/news/14153034.It_was__right_decision__to_delay_bridge_repair_work/?ref=twtrec

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl

    Increasing the council tax hurts the poorest families the most.

    It is not that far away from the poll tax in how regressive it is. SNP have essentially 'frozen the poll tax'.

    Also, the council tax freeze has resulted in more revenues to councils, while easing the burden on low-income households. Sure it is annoying that wealthier homes are benefiting, but like the basic rate thing, if you up it, you hit both and the low income homes get disproportionately hit. £10 to someone on a low income is worth a lot more than it is to someone on a high income. Can mean the difference between Asda and a foodbank.

    Quote

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-34326185

    Local authorities 'overfunded' for council tax freeze

    • 22 September 2015
    •  
    •  
    Image copyrightPA

    Local government has been more than adequately compensated for revenues lost through the council tax freeze, new research has suggested.

     

    I agree with a local income tax. Hopefully we see moved to that soon:

     

    Quote

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-35088199

    The current council tax system in Scotland "must end", the specially set up Commission on Local Tax Reform has concluded.

    It looked at alternatives and outlined three options, one based on property, the others on land and income.

     

     

     

    Edited by scottish skier
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    Posted
  • Location: Highland Scotland
  • Location: Highland Scotland

    Of course the council tax should have been replaced in the last parliament, but the Lib Dems voted against their own policy on LIT to score points against the SNP. Had they ant principles at all the council tax would already be history!

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
    7 hours ago, skifreak said:

    Of course the council tax should have been replaced in the last parliament, but the Lib Dems voted against their own policy on LIT to score points against the SNP. Had they ant principles at all the council tax would already be history!

    Agreed.

    I live in a perfect example of where raising the council tax would hurt low income homes with little impact on higher income homes.

    Farm cottages, all of originally around the same size. All rated the same for council tax as a result many years ago.

    Yet...

    2 have been extended and modernised considerably, including my own. A third renovated, leaving only 2 older, smaller and hard to heat.

    The occupants vary wildly, from me, a decent enough earner who could afford to pay more, to a retired policeman on a modest pension, to a single mother (due to an abusive husband) who really is watching every penny while she works part time and tries to train for qualifications. 

    If the council tax was raised, I'd be able to pay. It would hit the retired policeman much more. The lady alone with her kid would be in the crap.

    It's hardly better than the poll tax and any decent left of centre party would not be looking to increase it, but try and find an alternative, as the Scottish Government are doing.

    Of course it was much better than the poll tax to start with, but as time passes, so original valuations become increasingly meaningless as properties are modified, values rise and fall in response to the changing fortunes of areas etc.

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    Posted
  • Location: NH7256
  • Weather Preferences: where's my vote?
  • Location: NH7256

    I don't give a tuppeny fk whether it's council tax or local income tax, we just need to get more money spent on local services (road repairs, street lighting, schools, social services, local policing, etc.).  Party political squabbling is getting us nowhere but this is what we're stuck with.

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    Posted
  • Location: Highland Scotland
  • Location: Highland Scotland
    11 hours ago, Hairy Celt said:

    I don't give a tuppeny fk whether it's council tax or local income tax, we just need to get more money spent on local services (road repairs, street lighting, schools, social services, local policing, etc.).  Party political squabbling is getting us nowhere but this is what we're stuck with.

    For reasons that SS outlined above, the council tax takes very little to no account of ability to pay. Labour are making a lot of noise about the poor suffering because of lack of funding for local services, but increases in council tax would need to be huge to deliver significant increases in council budgets and that would hammer poorer people. As I understand it neither the SG nor local authorities  have much wiggle room over council tax - it can't as far as I am aware re-band, re-evaluate, add additional bands etc, which was one reason for wanting to scrap it and replace it with a system that Holyrood and local councils could have much more control off.

    If the average council tax bill across Scotland was doubled (across all bands) it would only raise council budgets about 15%, it would take a 67% increase to raise budgets by 10%. The council tax brings no meaningful local accountability even if the freeze was lifted, because the amount actually raised by local tax has since the start of the previous (Thatcher) Tory government become ever more marginal. There needs to be complete change to bring democratic accountability  and improved local service provision and quite a lot of spending/funding should be shifted from central taxation with a significant shift in funding from block grants to taxation by the body spending the revenue whether that be the Scottish Parliament or the local council.

    That might focus minds on actually delivering locally, where as the current Highland Council after what amounted to a coup to oust the SNP/Lib Dem administration is now simply politicking to seek to damage the Scottish Government without regard to the consequences of their actions on the very voters their supposed to representing. Those who rely on local services or are employed by the Highland Council are just collateral damage in this. It's a damn shame that the shambles with the electronic voting machines in 2007 lead to longer council terms, because I'd like the chance to express my opinion on that bunch along the road in the council chambers next May!

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    Posted
  • Location: Highland Scotland
  • Location: Highland Scotland

    It's also worth pointing out that the SG budget would have been delivered in September, thus councils could have set their budgets by now - but this long standing timetable was blown out of the water by George Osborne. 

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    Posted
  • Location: NH7256
  • Weather Preferences: where's my vote?
  • Location: NH7256

    Just looked at Council Tax bands for Highland for the current year.  The lowest bill is (total) nearly £900 (so £75 per month), the highest is £3150 (so £260 per month).  Not astronomical sums, are they?

    The way that services are being screwed just now, if we don't think we can afford to raise the rates (and yes, I'd suggest doubling it), it's almost like saying we don't care that services are vanishing and infrastructure is getting beyong repair, we're making a stand because those other guys (of whatever colour) won't play ball.

    There is money in the Highlands. I was in Inverness doing my Xmas shop this morning - the amount of utter tat that's in the shops and being sold is unreal.  Perhaps folk would rather buy another stupid flashing plastic reindeer than have the drains kept clear, or school dinners made from yet more rubbishy ingredients, or child protection services cut again...

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl

    I'm sorry HC, but I can't support putting more people into poverty by raising council tax bands just like that. It's too right-wing for me; taxing the poor more than the rich. We have enough of that already.

    The bands on properties were created in 1991. I was still at school!

    You can't use that to fairly increase taxes; my hamlet is one example. I'd take hardly any hit relatively, but the struggling single mum I mentioned would end up in real trouble most likely. She's already looking at losing tax credits, and now you want to shaft her with more council tax. George would be proud.:)

    Ok, so what about increasing the rates for the highest band properties? That'll just hit the wealthy right? No. There are plenty of people (pensioners are a classic example) living in what are 'high value' properties yet they are not high earners themselves. At one time people bought a house as a home or maybe inherited it. Just because you live in a fair sized house doesn't mean you are wealthy. This is why council tax is stupid and I have similar concerns about land value tax.

    In the end, council tax is hardly better than the poll tax. I could never back increasing the poll tax on the poorest homes.

    And what's next? Maybe the SNP should end their policy of mitigating the Labour bedroom tax (Labour started it) to free up more cash for councils? That's the same line of thinking as upping council tax.

    For me, a local income tax is the best option. 

    At least for the moment, councils are not losing out due to the council tax freeze as SPICE have shown. So councils and the poor both winners.

    But hey, lets not let all that get in the way of SNP = Bad (that's not specifically directed at you, but the other parties / MSM). Aye, Mugabe land grabbing bedroom subsidising etc socialists / tartan tories that they are, depending on which day of the week it is.

    --

    Anyway, lets all pray the SNP do get another majority because Scotland will really be shat on from a great height (or rather great distance from London) if they don't. Just what Labour is hoping for. People think it's bad now; take away the only muscle you have and it will be 10x worse. Tories will have a massive champagne party while George immediately looks to slash Scotland's budget. Well, with SNP threat neutered...

    Unfortunately, we are now in the position that everything is seen through the independence prism. Scottish Lab / Con / Lib will never act in any way to make Scotland a fairer and more prosperous society as that could encourage independence. Nope, instead they will always act to damage Scotland because the union comes first. There isn't any way out of this other than independence, not while >50% are ready to vote for it (latest polls). Everything is now about how to stop independence. The only parties that will try and do their best for Scotland are the pro-indy ones; SNP, Greens, SSP etc.

     

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  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl

    The regressive nature of the council tax is well known. This is why the left of centre SNP won't increase it, but instead have tried to mitigate it, as they have done for e.g. the bedroom tax. They are now looking for an alternative, past plans having been scuppered by unionist parties as skifreak noted.

    From the SNP loving Guardian:

     

    Quote

    http://www.theguardian.com/local-government-network/2013/oct/22/council-tax-mansion-tax-progressive-tax

    Council tax is regressive and it is about time we scrapped it

    Council tax was born in a rush, after the disastrous failure of the poll tax. A bastardised combination of the house value-based rates system and the per-person community charge, it is riddled with problems and anomalies.

    From the overtly pro-Scottish independence [British] Equality Trust:

    Quote

    https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/how-regressive-our-tax-system

    A perfect example of a poorly designed regressive tax is Council Tax. The Institute for Fiscal Studies’ Paul Johnson even described it as "being deliberately regressive in its design". Local councils pay out Council Tax Support to those with the lowest incomes to help compensate for this, but the budget for this support was slashed in the year that latest figures cover.

    The result is that Council Tax[1] now hits the poorest harder than it has since the ONS began measuring Council Tax Support[2]. The poorest lose 8% of their income to the Council Tax system whilst the richest only lose 2%.

    Even from the EU, who campaigned heavily for a Yes vote in Scotland's referendum:

    Quote

    http://www.localgov.co.uk/Europe-tells-UK-to-reform-regressive-council-tax-system/36432

    Europe tells UK to reform ‘regressive’ council tax system

    The European Commission has told the UK to reform its ‘regressive’ council tax system and pursue a ‘growth-friendly’ approach to spending.

    Ok, one that does look not unfavourably on scottish self governance, the left wing Jimmy Reid foundation.

     

    Quote

     

    http://reidfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/InvestGoodSociety.pdf

    The Problem with Council Tax
    Council tax is an unpopular tax. There are a number of possible reasons for this. It is highly visible:
    88 per cent of tax is remitted by firms so for the vast majority of people Council Tax is one of
    the only taxes they are asked to pay personally45. Council Tax is regressive in relation to property
    values. The lowest-value properties, those towards the bottom of band A, have very high effective
    tax rates, which fall sharply until property values reach band B. Effective tax rates then fall more
    gently, with some small jumps when property values cross bands. After properties move over into
    the highest band, effective tax rates gradually comes down as property values rise. The result is
    that Council Tax is charged at 2.4 per cent on average for a property worth £40,000 in 1991, at 1.8
    per cent for a property valued at £100,000 in 1991, and at just 0.3 per cent for a property worth £1
    million in 199146. In general, younger, poorer people living in less expensive houses are overtaxed
    and older, richer people living in high value properties are under-taxed. The banding system has
    not been updated since 1993 and it was far from perfect then. The failure to reassess has led
    to the system failing to properly differentiate between homes of widely varying and changing
    values47

     

    Bloody SNP tartan tories..no wait... loony lefite socialists.

     

     

    Edited by scottish skier
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  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl

    At first I was confused by this. Then I realised.

    The Tories have a UK majority even though 63% voted against them in the GE.

    They govern Scotland with just 14.9% of the vote.

    A one party state is quite an apt description.

    So, Mundel wants us to vote Tory to increase the Tory share massively, whereby the Tories wouldn't be running a dictatorship any more.

    That's it yes?

    Quote

    https://archive.is/io7Ng

    Mundell tells voters to back Tories to avoid one party state

    And the Tories wonder why they only got 14.9% of the vote - a record historical low - in May.

    Edited by scottish skier
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  • Location: NH7256
  • Weather Preferences: where's my vote?
  • Location: NH7256

    Yeah I know all that about regressive council tax.  But something needs to be done and nothing is being done. It's like watching Rome burn, honestly, the country is falling apart and politicians can't fix it.  They're not stupid, they're just bloody blinkered and I don't accept the blame is on everyone but SNP - they've been top dog at Holyrood for long enough now and the country's going to the dogs faster and faster.  (Oh right, we can afford to upgrade the A9.  Jeez, don't make me scream - spending money on concrete and tarmac that isn't needed.)

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  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
  • Location: Near Lauder, SE Scotland, 175 m asl
    55 minutes ago, Hairy Celt said:

    Yeah I know all that about regressive council tax.  But something needs to be done and nothing is being done. It's like watching Rome burn, honestly, the country is falling apart and politicians can't fix it.  They're not stupid, they're just bloody blinkered and I don't accept the blame is on everyone but SNP - they've been top dog at Holyrood for long enough now and the country's going to the dogs faster and faster.  (Oh right, we can afford to upgrade the A9.  Jeez, don't make me scream - spending money on concrete and tarmac that isn't needed.)

    I see where you are coming from HC, I do. Like it or not I'm on the left of the spectrum too. Sure not as far to the left (I think you are off the chart?), but that's a pragmatic decision because I think the fight between left and right (or at least the promotion of it) causes more harm than good. So, I find myself trying to find common ground. However, that's another story.

    I voted in September 2014 for the Scottish government to have full tax and spending powers (independence). I voted for normality. I'd do so again tomorrow, even if it cost me a big tax hike.

    I know that it's not a panacea. Every country has it's ups and downs and every country is just as capable of making a good go of things or screwing it up. However, I think democracy is the least worst option for governance and I want my politicians close. I'd like people elected in my country making the decisions for it, whatever colour we choose.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again...If you attack the SNP, you attack Labour. You also attack the Greens. You likewise attack the Tories and liberals. Even the strong socialists are the subject of your attack. Why? Because the SNP is not a party. It is a movement. It's a coalition of all parties. They are just wearing yellow t-shirts with wee saltire logos.

    So yeah, the SNP are not perfect because no party is and they are a coalition of all those imperfect parties. That's what makes them appealing to me in addition to the indy thing.

    When it comes down to it though, Holyrood is a 'pretendy parliament' even though 7/10 want it to be a full on one. The ability to change e.g. just income tax basic rate (2012 Scotland Bill) is like putting you in a car and telling to that you can't steer, you can't use the indicators, you can't even turn on the lights... you can just change gear and that's it. It is designed to damage Scotland. It was never, ever designed by the UK parties, to be a good thing to benefit my country, but to put a lid on those 'bloody nationalists'.

    We can make great savings if we are not paying for one of the biggest overseas offensive army budgets in the world per capita, inc WMDs. We can slim down on parliaments - why are we paying for one that doesn't represent Scotland's electorate? We are duplicating there for no reason. We can change the tax system to make it fairer while bringing in a bit more dosh...

    I voted for that, but I accept 55% didn't and instead voted for what we have now; horrific Tory austerity and all that comes with that. I hope that in time, we might persuade enough to take the leap.

    In the meantime, I will continue to vote for 'parties' [sic movements] that do have an interest in Scotland being a reasonably prosperous and equal country. That rules out all those that back the UK union because, as noted, they see Scotland doing well as a threat to that union. Sad, but true.

    I'd like not to be in this limbo where the media and all opposition see everything through the independence prism. But we are where we are and there's no going back it seems.

    ---

    As for the A9? 

    I support the upgrade. Seen too many deaths on that road. Been involved in a couple of accidents myself over my 39 years caused by others thinking it's a dual. A decent upgrade to a crucial main artery is something I'd rather pay for than shiny fast train-set that terminates at Leeds if we are lucky.

     

     

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  • Location: NH7256
  • Weather Preferences: where's my vote?
  • Location: NH7256

    Ok, I read your comments and I think we just agree to differ on many areas.  I'll just repeat my extreme disappointment that the country seems to be getting screwed over so badly.

    The A9 is now a lot safer that the speed limit is being enforced so the dualling isn't needed on safety grounds any more.  I know a lot of folk have been campaigning for it for a long time and it was going to happen sooner or later. Just now isn't right though.

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