THE Scottish Greens have announced that a “firm alternative” to replace council tax will be put forward before the next Holyrood election. 

Minister for tenant’s rights Patrick Harvie said it would be a “collective failure” of the Scottish Parliament if a plan to replace council tax did not appear before voters go to the polls in 2026. 

It comes after First Minister Humza Yousaf announced a council tax freeze for 2024/25 – a policy the Scottish Greens do not support.

Speaking at the Scottish Greens party conference, Harvie told delegates gathered in Dunfermline that the Bute House Agreement with the SNP set out common ground – but also “recognises the right to differ”.

He said differences on the issue of local council funding were partly about the policy of a council tax freeze, and also about how it was announced.

It emerged after Humza Yousaf announced the policy in his speech to the SNP conference the Greens had only been informed shortly beforehand.

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Harvie said: “Over the last week Green MSPs and Green councillors have clearly expressed criticisms of the council tax freeze, and asked challenging questions about what the phrase “fully funded” even means.

“But this whole issue only serves to highlight just how broken local government funding is.

“The long overdue need for fundamental reform is where this issue should go now. And only with Greens in Government will we be able to take it there.

“At his party conference the First Minister said he is ‘committed to fundamental reform of local taxation’ - well those are words we can welcome, but it’s a piece of work that is long, long overdue.

“That is why since his announcement, we have secured the recognition of the First Minister that the process of reform now needs real momentum.

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“So Green MSPs will make sure that over the same time period as this year’s budget process a timetable and way of working will be agreed so that by the end of this Parliament there will finally be a firm alternative put forward to complete the long overdue replacement of council tax.”

Speaking to journalists ahead of the conference, Harvie also rejected calls from the Royal Society of Edinburgh for a revaluation of council tax across Scotland to take place.

He said: “In my view, there’s a case for at least considering whether revaluation would involve as much work and disruption as completely replacing council tax with something fundamentally fairer.

"If this controversy produces anything positive, it’s an opportunity to put real impetus back into that case and make progress in this session of Parliament.”