McConnell backs green council tax reform

Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell has vowed to give local authorities powers to offer council tax discounts to households that recycle more or adopt energy-efficiency measures if the Labour party stays in power after May’s election.

The news that the Scottish Labour party’s manifesto will include the policy was revealed as Mr McConnell made a speech in which he echoed Environment Secretary David Miliband’s call for individuals to take responsibility for addressing climate change.

Councils would be free to decide which measures would enable a household to qualify for the discount, as well as the size of the discount itself. Officials said a figure of £100 might be appropriate.

Last year the Scottish Executive promised to consult on direct variable charging for household waste collection if the idea was widely supported (ENDS Report 373, p 37 ).

Mr Miliband personally supports direct variable charging but a decision on whether to introduce it in England is not expected at least until the Lyons review of local government reports in March.

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