BBC BLOGS - Blether with Brian
« Previous | Main | Next »

Picking up momentum

Brian Taylor | 16:12 UK time, Thursday, 14 October 2010

Elections tend to develop their own momentum, their own issues.

My guess - and bear with me here - is that the economy and public spending may feature somewhere on the margins of the next Holyrood contest. You read it here first.

But today more anent a key aspect of that wider debate: the council tax.

Nicola Sturgeon told the SNP conference that the party planned to extend their council tax freeze, if returned to power.

Actually, the first minister set out the broad strategy in a video message from Delhi - but it fell to his deputy to set out the details, live and local.

The SNP believe they have found a key vote winner. The BBC Scotland poll this week indicated that folk tended to frown on the notion of increasing local taxation.

But, for the SNP, that only confirmed what they had already discerned from focus group consultation.

Key messages

As you might expect, each of their key messages at this conference has been tested in such a fashion.

To the detail, then. Council tax has already been frozen for three years, since the SNP gained power.

It was intended to be an interim step, pending local income tax. It has now become a strategy in its own right.

Ms Sturgeon said that funding would now be found to extend that for one year, 2011/12, through the election.

And she announced further that, should the SNP be returned to power, there would be one further year of funded freeze, 2012/13.

Nationalists believe it gives them an edge over Labour which is now arguing that the freeze cannot be afforded without adding to the damaging cuts due to be faced by local government.

Labour's response today was to focus upon the SNP's continuing aim of introducing a Local Income Tax.

They said it would place far too great a burden upon income - and would be a "massive bombshell" upon hard-pressed families in troubled times.


or register to comment.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.