I never thought that the local income tax will succeed but i never thought it would falter so quickly. There is no doubt that it was not only unworkable but that it would have cost more and produced less in terms of cash for public services.
But lets look at whats happened here. A minority Government has admitted it can''t build a consensus in parliament so it has dropped a manifesto promise (a pretty major one at that). It is at least honest; " we can't build a consensus so we won't waste time trying any more" but that does also mean that immediately others get the blame rather than any real analysis of why the policy couldn't get support. "the unfair tax remains because others would not help get id of it"
It means getting bad news over and done long before an election so any "broken promise" opportunities have lost their edge. But it also begs the question "what about the council tax freeze?" It was an interim measure for a policy that won't now be implemented. It will, by 2011, have removed £240m from the public service budget but not removed the tax it was introduced to help shift. So the question becomes, will it stay? If the SNP removed the freeze next year that would do two things; first give them an addition £70m to play with, (a tiny amount in the whole Scottish budget but hey, was the price of the Tory votes on the budget), but it would also allow them to argue that the Council tax rises have returned because the other parties wouldn't let the SNP get rid of it; "they wanted to keep it so let them pay the political price if it being used again"
It would be a risky strategy but would mean that the locus would shift from a broken promise (and a big one at that) to look what these nasty opposition parties have done to you....call me a cynic if you will but....
Keith Simpson's Christmas Reading List
1 day ago