Chic Brodie MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Chic Brodie

Gavin Brown misses the point. When I talked about setting local authorities free, I was saying that it should be right for them to determine the level of tax gathering and revenue that is appropriate for their circumstances.

The competitiveness that I was about to mention with regard to Europe will provide competition between local authorities. That in itself will improve our economic capabilities.

We must look at those local governments in Europe with equivalent responsibilities to Scotland. They garner at least 50 per cent of their income locally whereas, as Willie Rennie pointed out, we have a base of 20 per cent.

Local communities should and must have the right to determine whether they want to pay for better governance and better services in their area. In staying faithful to its remit, I am sure that the commission will, in a short time, construct positive proposals that will not just embrace fairness and efficiency but let us set about using the adopted local taxation system—or systems—to eradicate inequalities in our local areas and to secure the wellbeing of each and every one of our citizens. I am also sure that it will want to hand back power to the citizens. By doing that, we would ensure that there is more direct engagement with local people.

All of us will have a view on what the local taxation base might encompass. There will be those of us who seek a form of local income tax married to a site valuation tax system, with regular assessment of land values, as opposed to the current unfair property values. Both of those taxes would be progressive, fair, more equal, embrace personal income and asset positions and demand more accountability from local representatives. Of course, that will be down to the commission. However, I suggest that it might be helpful to have a brief stop-over in Denmark, particularly to assess the impact of site valuation tax and a local income tax on local and national economies.

The commission is most welcome; its recommendations and the consequent actions will be even more so.

16:00  

Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Chic Brodie

Yes.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Chic Brodie (South Scotland) (SNP)

I welcome the debate. Some 10 years ago, I sat in the public gallery of the Parliament, listening to a raging debate on local taxation. There was loud support for a local income tax from the Opposition at that time. Then, as now, it was clear that the existing property-based system of local taxation is not progressive, fair, proportionate, efficient or timeous and does not achieve all that it should and that we should move to strengthen local autonomy and democracy through a proper taxation system.

In pursuit of our principles, as enshrined in the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill, we must address a fundamental change in the financing of our local authorities, however they might be structured, so that local democracy and autonomy might be achieved.

We can no longer continue with the current regime. The council tax, which we have rightly frozen over the past eight years given the straitened UK national economic circumstances, might and should eventually become a lost element in the history of local tax revenue garnering.

We must recognise that compulsive action by central Government while working with COSLA has buttressed local government by maintaining annual revenue and capital funding at current levels in 2015-16, with new allocations uprated by finance for new responsibilities allocated to local authorities.

It is to be applauded that local government budgets from 2007-08 to 2012-13 have increased by 9 per cent, demonstrating an accord between COSLA and the Scottish Government over that difficult financial period. I hope—I know—that, with COSLA joining the commission, that relationship will be mirrored.

I am confused by Gavin Brown’s statement that he will consult civic Scotland. Is he expecting to get an answer different from the one that it has already given on the proposed commission? It is shameful, frankly, that the Conservatives have not participated and made this a consensual effort.

The requirement for action, if anything, highlighted the need to change and meet our manifesto commitment to replace an iniquitous council tax.

If Scotland is to compete economically and globally, the nature of local government funding must change. If we are to empower communities, so must we empower local authorities and their associated communities to set them free to achieve returns on local investment, innovation, efficiency and productivity. If we are to compete seriously, we must consider that competitive countries, particularly those in Europe with local governments—



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Chic Brodie

Through Prestwick.



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Chic Brodie

On that last point, there is a great book called “Mind Your Manners” that explains cultural differences—it is worth a read if one is exporting to a whole range of countries. I will also mention that I have recently been privileged to be involved with Chinese businesspeople from Dandong, who have opened up an international business and language school at Glaisnock house near New Cumnock.

My question is on air passenger duty. Can you assess the impact that APD has had on Scottish exports? What would you like to happen as regards APD?

11:15  

Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Chic Brodie

I have two quick questions. The first is for Garry Clark. Inward investment is of course a step to turning things round on exporting goods. What involvement have you had with the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China?

Secondly, I ask Jim Love to comment on the situation that, because we are not a member state of the European Union, a lot of the information does not flow directly to Scotland. In fact, we have evidence of economic circumstances in which we have not enjoyed the benefits that flow through Westminster and the information was dilatory in coming.

I ask the witnesses to address those international issues of inward investment and the lack of information from Europe.

11:00  

Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Chic Brodie

The number is limited.



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Chic Brodie

Joan McAlpine pre-empted a question that I wanted to ask about mentoring for exports.

I want to extend my question back to the Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise account management system. Do you have a view on the export expertise that is available in the account management regime in the enterprise agencies?



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Chic Brodie

Chariots on fire.



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Chic Brodie

I am more interested in what we can do more effectively up here, but thank you for that, because it confirms what some of us who have been involved in business believe.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12423.1 Alex Rowley: Commission on Local Tax Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-12423 in the n
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YesCarried

S4M-12423 Marco Biagi: Commission on Local Tax Reform—That the Parliament supports the establishment
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YesCarried

S4M-12385 Liz Smith: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament agrees that a solid grou
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12395.1 Fergus Ewing: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in the
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12395.2 Patrick Harvie: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in t
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12395 Murdo Fraser: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—That the Parliament notes with concern the l
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YesCarried

S4M-12385.3 Alasdair Allan: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to motion S4M-12385 i
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12382.3 Mary Fee: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to motion S4
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NoDefeated

S4M-12382.1 Gavin Brown: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to motion
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NoDefeated

S4M-12382.2 Willie Rennie: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to moti
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Chic Brodie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12004: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11191: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10721: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10603: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10352: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09044: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09041: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09035.1: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08959: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08543: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Chic Brodie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-24705: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/03/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-04042: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03873: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03838: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03782: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03728: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23042: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03698: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03565: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03401: Chic Brodie, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/06/2014 Show Full Question >>

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