Councils ‘will need more tax powers’ after Covid crisis

Local authorities will need more powers for raising revenues after the pandemic, Edinburgh City Council has said.

Councils ‘will need more tax powers’ after Covid crisis SNS

Local authorities will need more powers for raising revenues after the coronavirus crisis, Edinburgh City Council has said.

Writing in response to a call for views from the Scottish Government on the economic response to coronavirus, it said there should be more freedom when it comes to business rates and land-value uplift taxes.

The expected recovery cannot be co-ordinated effectively through national schemes and will have to be administered closer to affected communities, the council said in its response.

“That means more powers for local government and more flexibility to shape and apply national economic provisions and investment plans,” it said.

Devolution of some financial matters to local government should be used, the council said, as well as the Scottish Government following up on promises to bring in a tourist tax.

The Scottish Government pledged to bring such a levy before Holyrood this year in its 2019-20 programme for government.

The coronavirus outbreak and the associated economic downturn, the document warns, could create a more unequal society, a possibility which should be met with a “re-positioning of powers and decision making that is as close to communities as possible”.

Edinburgh City Council leader Adam McVey said: “It’s important to recognise the significant challenges we face and also that business as usual isn’t an option.

“We’re taking a ‘Team Edinburgh’ approach to our city’s recovery and working with the Scottish Government and national partners to do the same for the country.

“By collaborating with government and authorities at national and local levels we are doing everything possible to develop our economic and social recovery in the fairest and most sustainable way.

“Our capital is in many ways Scotland’s gateway to the rest of the world and a driving force for the country’s economy so it’s crucial for our city’s interests to shape the national plans.”