The big freeze
Fancy a council tax freeze? Not a low increase. Not containment within the rate of inflation. A freeze - nothing added to the present rate next year.
Here’s another question. If you got a council tax freeze, would you be more inclined to overlook other promises in the SNP manifesto that, perhaps, may not be delivered instantly, in full?
That’s one scenario providing innocent merriment to the coffee-sipping denizens of the Garden Lobby at Holyrood, politicians and members of the wicked media alike.
Here’s the thinking. John Swinney is meeting leading councillors today.
He wants them to agree to a council tax freeze in return for giving them a higher percentage of the Scottish block. Get more, tax less.
At the very least, the council leaders in Cosla are treating the notion seriously – with the occasional mutter that a freeze might not cost as much as has been suggested in some quarters.
So, you could have a situation where Cosla recommends a freeze to members – although, of course, it is up to individual councils to set their budgets.
Why would they undertake such a course? For more dosh, greater freedom to allocate it – and new status as the quangocracy shrinks. Plus bear in mind that there are now more SNP councillors than Labour ones.
What would they have to do? Make strides towards implementing SNP policies on police numbers, class sizes and the rest.
Research since the election has suggested that council tax had particular salience in the minds of the voters. (Hint - they don’t like it.)
So, if they got a freeze, would they overlook the prospect that many of the promised 1,000 new police officers are reconditioned and that class sizes in primaries one to three won’t be cut to 18 all that soon?