Salmond backs bill to end Poll Tax debts

Former First Minister Alex Salmond speaking in the Scottish Parliament.
Former First Minister Alex Salmond speaking in the Scottish Parliament.

Aberdeenshire East MSP Alex Salmond has supported a Scottish Government bill to end the collection of historic Poll Tax debts.

As part of the Bill, the liability to pay the arrears in Scotland ended on February 1, 2015. This was subject to, and has now received, final approval from Parliament.

The Scottish Government brought forward the bill to bring an end to collection of debts under the tax, which was abolished in 1993 after four years in operation in Scotland.

As part of the Stage 3 Debate on the Community Charge Debt Bill in the Scottish Parliament today, Mr Salmond spoke of his long-standing opposition to the Poll Tax.

Last year, Mr Salmond criticised Aberdeenshire Council Leader Jim Gifford for his support of the continuation of the historic debt collection.

Speaking during the debate in the Scottish Parliament, former First Minister Alex Salmond said: “What moved me to do that was the enthusiasm being displayed by the Conservative leader of Aberdeenshire Council Jim Gifford.

“One, he seemed oblivious entirely that the pittance being collected by Aberdeenshire council meant they were in the position…that it was costing more to collect than was actually being collected.

“He seemed unaware that much of the outstanding debt was an illusion and was owed by people who had never existed or had long since demised in the last 23 years.

“And thirdly, he seemed totally unaware that the people who had paid the tax had probably paid it many times over because of the cumulative charges.”