Issue 12

EDITORIAL

The Holyrood election of 2016 is already looking to be a fascinating contest – not so much because of serious doubts about which party might do best; but just as much about what the implications of ‘doing best’ might be.

As some of our contributors point out in this edition of Scottish Policy Now, the new parliament will have further powers, and will require to make choices that have previously not been available to or imposed upon Holyrood.

….ministers can’t really believe that announcing the first ever decision on Income Tax for Scotland in modern times is best done just before an election.

Most interestingly, and a consequence of earlier changes, the current parliament will have to determine some portion of the income tax that a large number of us have to pay each year.

Whatever the current levels of support for the current government, and the prospects some polls suggest it might appear to have for the 2016 elections, ministers can’t really believe that announcing the first ever decision on Income Tax for Scotland in modern times is best done just before an election.

It may be that we see some form of bidding/reverse bidding war on taxes in the style we endured prior to the recent UK election. One party says it will only increase tax by 1p; another will reduce it by 1p and so on. It may be that the Commission on Local Tax Reform will offer radical options for local taxation, but the parties will flee again to ‘council tax frozen for another ‘x’ years’ ….. or ‘y’ years, or anything but a responsible choice.

Or possibly the bidding will be based on the old line of ‘ ..we’ll do (that means spend generally) more, but not increase taxes and charges – something will turn up…’.

possibly the bidding will be based on the old line of ‘ ..we’ll do (that means spend generally) more, but not increase taxes and charges – something will turn up…’ .

As we also see in one of the articles here, there also appears to be a fascinating paradox between people currently saying they will vote SNP and therefore re-elect this government and those not very impressed with different elements of their performance.

Of course events may always intervene; another Police Scotland foul up; poorly explained and defended, or just treated as one of those things. Further trouble and strife in the Labour Party post leadership election. All of the major parties have potential trip wires in front of them. And for the smaller parties? The Greens are currently finding out that being on the same side in the referendum debate doesn’t get them a free pass for subsequent elections whereas the ‘left Left ‘ continue to change brand names like Sellafield used to.

At Scottish Policy Now we have focused in this edition on some of the policies and issues which various people and organisations think should be addressed by the next Parliament – whoever leads the government post May.
We will return to this in future editions with other policy areas and potential issues. We’d be delighted to hear some other views – let us know your thoughts!

Issue 12

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