Image: Dave Connor, Flickr

The Scottish Green Party announced today their plans to reform taxation within the life of the next Scottish Parliament, including major tax increases for the wealthiest.

Proposals would enable councils to replace the outdated Council Tax with a “Residential Property Tax”, introduced gradually, and entirely based on property value. The new tax would see homes in Band H – of median value £795,000 – charged £7,850, over three times the current amount. The lowest value homes would see a significant reduction in local tax, moving from the current level of £701 to an annual charge of £440 over five years.

The SNP’s proposals retain the painfully outdated council tax by simply adding additional bands, whilst Scottish Labour would cap local taxes at £3,000: effectively a tax break for those living in the most valuable homes. RISE have proposed replacing the tax on property with a local income tax, a policy long championed by the Liberal Democrats.

Also announced today are Green proposals to introduce a more equitable Scottish rate of income tax, with a 60% rate applied to those earning over £150,000 a year. Earnings below £19,000 would see a modest tax cut: 18% down from the 20% currently levied.

Compared with the SNP’s income tax proposals this system would see a four times greater reduction in inequality and an additional £331 million raised to invest in public services.

The Greens’ Wightman, Harvie, Chapman, Johnstone at today’s tax policy launch. Photo: Peter McColl

Patrick Harvie, Finance and Economy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP candidate for Glasgow, said: “With the SNP’s reluctance to act and Labour’s limited offering, our income tax proposals will find favour with those who see the chance to create a more equal Scotland.”

For local tax, property valuations would be itemised, showing the value of the land on which the property sits, and the value of the building itself. This would then allow councils, over time, to vary the percentage of each element, so a local authority could weight the bill 100 per cent towards the land value, creating a land value tax.

Andy Wightman, Local Government spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP candidate for Lothian, sees the proposals as a stepping stone:

“Property owners and tenants are being left in a ridiculous situation by the SNP with a tax based on values from quarter of a century ago. By implementing a property tax with a land value element, we can make strides towards a land value tax that will help make homes more affordable for all.”

A full breakdown of the proposals announced today are available here.