Examination of the Scottish rating system and its application in local government finance
Stout, Cecil Henry
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To meet the altered conditions of social and local government services over many centuries, the rating system in Scotland has been the subject of gradual evolution and the changes in it have been practical measures to sustain the needs of an ever -changing society. Local government is not a static arrangement which can be circumscribed by legislative direction with any great finality. New eras bring varying, novel and extraordinary problems which by their complexity were never visualised by the y.;receding generation. Democracy as it is known in this country arranges that by freedom of expression attention is quickly drawn to new requirements and some expedient is found by the local and national administrations to overcome the immediate demands of society. The laws of the land are merely short or long term stop gaps until some fresh perplexity induces an amendment or substitution.In Scotland, the rating system has stood the Uonclusions on Rating Systqa test of time extremely well accordingly the abandon- ment of any part of it should not be lightly undertaken. In the past it has been generally accepted that, rental value is a suitable basis for adjusting payments for local benefits and services, but it is not an entirely equitable and precise criterion of means to pay for services of general utility. "Rates" for strictly local purposes have rightly been, and will probably continue to be, a substantial item in the receipts of local authorities. Yet, owing to the defects in valuation and assessment, the pro ent contributions to the loco-national and social services inflict hardships not only on individual ratepayers but also on areas of varying resources. From these observations, a number of reforms have been suggested to make the local taxation system of today a fair and equitable arrangement for the sharing of financial burdens, and a firm basis upon which local government finance may be placed with a prospect of success.