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No more 'Poll Tax' collections from Scottish Councils

Alex Salmond says councils will be prevented from recovering the old debts Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Scottish Councils will be prevented from recovering so-called Poll Tax debts, First Minister Alex Salmond has announced.

Concerns had been raised that council chiefs in Scotland were using information provided by tens of thousands of people who registered to vote in the independence referendum to collect "ancient" debts.

The tax, officially called the Community Charge, was introduced by Margaret Thatcher when she was Prime Minister.

It proved hugely unpopular, resulting in protests and a widespread non-payment campaign.

But today, Alex Salmond announced new legislation will stop councils from taking further action to recover Poll Tax debts.

"It is, of course, within the law for councils to use current legislation to assess current council tax liability, and given the current council tax reduction scheme protects 500,000 of our poorest citizens, the tax is being applied in a proper and fair way.

"However, the relevance of information from the current electoral register to the position of debts from 25 years ago is difficult to fathom, except through some misguided political intention."

– Alex Salmond, First Minister

Salmond: Scotland is a 'better nation' after referendum

Alex Salmond says Scotland is a "better nation" as a result of the independence referendum. The First Minister returned to Holyrood today for the first time since Scots voted to stay in the UK last week.

Party leaders all praised the way the debate was carried out across the country. But fighting continues over what new powers will go to the Scottish Parliament. This from our political reporter, Kathryn Samson.

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Alex Salmond returns to Holyrood

Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Alex Salmond will return to Holyrood today for the first time since his bid for Scottish independence failed.

Mr Salmond, who has announced his intention to step down as First Minister, is expected to reflect on the independence referendum and put pressure on the victorious unionist parties to deliver on their devolution pledges in a statement to the Scottish Parliament.

Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick will open today's proceedings with "time for reflection", a Holyrood slot normally reserved for spiritual or philosophical contributions from religious or secular figureheads.

Mr Salmond's statement will be followed by two days of debate on the future of Scotland, with Labour leader Johann Lamont, Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie expected to open with responses from the Scottish opposition parties.

Scotland voted against independence by a majority of 55% in the referendum on Thursday.

Salmond: 'Writing is on the wall' over independence

Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

It is only a matter of time before Scotland becomes an independent nation, Alex Salmond has suggested.

The First Minister, who this week announced his intention to resign from his post, said the majority of younger Scots supported independence.

He told Sky News' Murnaghan programme: "When you have a situation where the majority of a country up to the age of 55 is already voting for independence, I think the writing's on the wall for Westminster."

"I think the destination is pretty certain, we're only now debating the timescale and the method," the SNP leader added.

Scottish First Minister announces his exit from the top

The result of the Scottish independence referendum was a huge blow for the Yes campaign this morning, worsened by the announcement this afternoon that the man who made it all possible - Alex Salmond - will step down in November.

ITV Border's Political Editor Peter MacMahon was at the press conference where Salmond announced his exit from the top of the SNP leadership, and from his office as First Minister.

Darling: Alex Salmond was 'a formidable political figure'

Alistair Darling, speaking earlier today Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Alistair Darling has praised Alex Salmond for the "huge contribution he has made to public life in Scotland." The leader of the Better Together campaign was speaking after the Scottish First Minister made the announcement he will step down in November.

"Alex Salmond is a formidable political figure. He transformed the SNP into a party of government and delivered their referendum on independence which they had craved so long. "Today he has accepted Scotland's verdict, recognising that it is for others in his party to take the SNP forward. "He has rightly said that the referendum was a once-in-a-lifetime event and that we all need to work to bring Scotland together. "He can look back with pride on being the longest-serving First Minister and to the huge contribution he has made to public life in Scotland. I wish him well in the future."

– Alistair Darling MP

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Miliband: Salmond 'a formidable frontline politician'

Ed Miliband called Alex Salmond "a formidable frontline politician" after Scotland's First Minister announced he was stepping down.

"Whatever our disagreements, he has always spoke his mind and he has always stood up for what he believed in," the Labour leader said.

Dumfriesshire MP 'predicted' Salmond's departure

David Mundell, the MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale has tweeted that Alex Salmond was a "consummate politician."

He also used the social media forum to tell his followers that he had predicted Salmond's exit earlier in the day.

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PM: Salmond 'a politician of huge talent and passion'

Prime Minister David Cameron has called Alex Salmond "a politician of huge talent and passion" after the First Minister announced he was stepping down.

He has been an effective First Minister and always fights his corner.

While we disagree profoundly about his goal of a separated Scotland, and many other things, I respect and admire his huge contribution to politics and public life.

– Prime Minister David Cameron
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