I am intrigued by New Labour's argument that up to 55,000 students who are currently exempt from paying council tax would be liable to pay the local income tax.
In fact, nearly 400,000 students are currently liable for the council tax, due to being part-time or on further education courses not covered by exemptions. The abolition of the unfair and discredited council tax, and its replacement with a local income tax based on the ability to pay, will lift this burden from these students.
In addition, only those earning over the tax allowance will be eligible to pay local income tax: at present, a student on the minimum wage would need to be working over 21 hours a week throughout the year to face any tax under the SNP's proposals. The vast majority of full-time Scottish students would pay absolutely nothing, because they earn less than the income tax threshold.
For those who earn more than the threshold, Labour's claims of sympathy for working students mean little, coming from the party which has just doubled the tax rates these students pay from 10 per cent to 20 per cent and which voted against the abolition of the graduate endowment.
The introduction of a local income tax would see four out of five households better off or no worse when compared with the current council tax, and this includes the vast majority of students.
Alex Orr, Bryson Road, Edinburgh.