Midlothian Council row over poll tax debt plans

Midlothian House, where the poll tax row took place at the latest full council meeting

Midlothian House, where the poll tax row took place at the latest full council meeting

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A row erupted last week at Midlothian House regarding the Scottish Government’s decision to stop collecting historic poll tax debt.

At the full council meeting, the SNP administration tabled a motion welcoming this move, while the Labour group made an amendment calling on Holyrood to reimburse the £8 million it says is still outstanding from non-payment in the county.

Labour went on to allege the plans were a bribe for people to vote yes on September 18 in the Independence Referendum.

Councillor Adam Montgomery (Lab) added a: “This sets a dangerous precedent. I was brought up to pay what you’re due. I feel we are just letting people off with not paying. If you are honest and law abiding it’s not fair.”

But council leader Owen Thompson (SNP) said: “How do you make someone a bribe after the vote? I can’t get my head around that.

“I find myself sitting here slightly disbelieving. It’s changed days indeed. I assumed, perhaps wrong, that Labour would back this motion. Red Tories indeed.”

Councillor Thompson added that Holyrood has promised compensation to councils for loss of unpaid poll tax.

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