Thursday, 2 October 2014
Today was a good day to be a debtor. First we had the news that Wonga is writing off the debts of 330,000 customers and then our First Minister used FMQs to announce that councils would be prevented from pursuing poll tax debts from 20+ years ago. No doubt there will be a lot of happy people tonight however there are also a lot of unhappy people, Calton amongst them, who don't take out loans they can't hope to repay and who do pay their taxes. If having their payday loans written off made people less likely to get into financial trouble in the future, that would be good, however Calton suspects the reverse will be true. The possibility that your debt will magically disappear due to your lender having their knuckles rapped must surely be an incentive to some people to take out a loan. As for Alex Salmond's poll tax stunt - it is a totally transparent attempt to continue stoking anti-Westminster sentiment and buy left-wing votes. It is also another example of SNP-led Holyrood arrogating local council powers. It should be up to individual councils to decided whether or not it is worth pursuing old debts, bearing in mind that the poll tax non-payment campaign left huge holes in council finances, which meant that those who did pay their dues ended up paying more than they should have done. Now, councils are facing a double whammy of the council tax freeze and a prohibition on recovering poll tax debt and our services are suffering as a result. It's time for Holyrood to butt out of council affairs and the only way to ensure that this happens is to vote out the SNP.