How better tax policy can reduce poverty and inequality

16 October 2023

Tax affects us all, and determines much about the society we live in – including through its central role in funding public services in Scotland, and the importance of tax in political representation and democratic engagement.

The Scottish Government’s overall approach to tax and spend has been progressive, however there is scope to go significantly further. The Commission believes that this will be required if the Scottish Government is to be fiscally sustainable, and to deliver on its ambition to tackle poverty in all its forms.

The Commission formed a working group on tax to look in more detail around how taxation in Scotland can better tackle poverty and inequality. The Commission has published a report based on the work of the group. It recommends that the Scottish Government and its partners must:

  1. Ensure all land and property in Scotland is registered with a current and accurate valuation.
  2. Revalue properties subject to the current council tax, and immediately start work to design its replacement.
  3. Seek to devolve the necessary powers to set rates and bands of income tax for savings and dividend income for Scottish taxpayers.
  4. Improve public understanding of, and compliance with, devolved taxation.
  5. Broaden the tax base in Scotland by doing the work required to bring wealth into scope for future tax policy, and implement transparency measures on the profits of multinational companies.

Download the Commission’s report on how better tax policy can reduce poverty and inequality (pdf,  835kb)

Report Annex: Policy assessment criteria and summary comments (pdf, 197kb)

Tax polling conducted by Survation – summary results (pdf, 238kb)

Tax polling conducted by Survation – tables and demographic breakdown of results (Excel, 218kb)


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