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The author regrets his small role in the poll tax debacle and the beginning of the end of Tory hegemony

By Madsen Pirie   March 1999

I fell for the idea straight away. Douglas Mason, a Scottish councillor, came up with a poll tax as a way to avert the rating crisis which hit Scotland in the early 1980s, and which threatened to do the same in England.

It is often difficult to track an idea back to its source, and there may well have been other people who thought this one. It would be surprising if there were not, because local government finance was reaching a critical stage, and people were examining how other countries managed. Capitation taxes, local income taxes, sales taxes and land…

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