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22 August 2006

Over 20,000 Aberdeenshire Pensioners Will Pay No Local Income Tax

Local SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed an announcement by SNP Deputy Leader Nicola Sturgeon that over 20,000 pensioners in the Aberdeenshire Council area will not have to pay a penny in Local Income Tax under an SNP led Scottish Government.

In a speech to pensioners in Edinburgh Ms Sturgeon laid out the SNP’s proposals to improve the lives of Scottish pensioners when an SNP-led Executive takes power from Labour in next year’s Scottish Parliament elections. A major element of that speech was spelling out the benefits for pensioners of replacing the council tax with a local income tax as well as improving the delivery of free personal care.

Commenting on the SNP’s plans to improve the lives of Scottish pensioners Mr Stevenson said:

"Making the lives of Scotland’s pensioners better will be a important policy plank of the SNP as we prepare for Government after the 2007 elections. The Council Tax is deeply unfair to pensioners and hits them particularly hard.

"Currently, 19% of the basic state pension goes on council tax in Aberdeenshire. That is simply too big a burden for pensioners to bear.

"That is why the SNP will abolish the unfair Council Tax and replace it with a Local Income Tax based on the ability to pay.

"This will directly benefit the vast majority of pensioners in Scotland in Aberdeenshire.

"Under the SNP proposals over 20,000 pensioners who pay no income tax in Aberdeenshire will have the council tax abolished and will pay no local income tax.

“There will be no ifs or buts, no means tests – they will simply have nothing to pay.

"With a local income tax the vast majority - approximately 90% - of pensioners throughout Scotland will pay nothing or less than they do now.

"The abolition of the unfair Council Tax will put money back in the purses and wallets of pensioners across Scotland. It will do so without subjecting our old folk to bureaucratic means tests which they find demeaning.

“With 2007 a two horse race between the SNP and Labour the pensioners of Aberdeenshire will have a clear choice with the SNP offering support or the Labour-LibDem Executive offering continued failure.”

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