At the Scottish Socialist Party conference in Dunfermline yesterday, the party’s national spokesperson Colin Fox bitterly criticised “the savage and utterly unnecessary attacks on jobs and services launched by Westminster and being implemented in Edinburgh”. The speech marked the party’s decision to put the fight against cuts in public spending at the centre of its campaign for the Holyrood election on May 5th.
The SSP national spokesperson added that the people of Scotland have made it clear that they do not accept there is any need for cuts to public spending or services and are deeply opposed to them. The party claims that the four main parties are hiding their planned cuts from the voting public.
The SSP points to the impact that socialist parties in Parliament can have on issues like scrapping the council tax, ensuring the provsion of free school meals and abolishing prescription charges. In 2003, when an MSP, Colin Fox launched a Private Members Bill to scrap the charges. Speaking of the recent abolition of presciption charges by the SNP government he said: “I am delighted, nonetheless, that at last our visionary idea has became law and that a great injustice has been eradicated today. Without our Bill and the SNP government’s decision to pick it up, prescription charges would be £7.40 per item today as they are in England.”
Joint national spokesperson Frances Curran said: “Our focus in this election will be firmly on making the rich minority pay for the economic mess they made, not pensioners, students, workers and other members of the public.”
As part of its election manifesto, the party has put forward its plans to scrap the council tax and replace it with an income-based Scottish service tax which they believe will force the better off to bear their fair share of the cost of public services. The party also plans action against “the massive tax-dodging by bonus-rich bankers and fat-cat corporations”.
Ms Curran reiterated the party’s commitment to independence, saying: “At the heart of our campaign will be our demand for an independent Scottish republic delivering full control over our future from the Con-Dem London axemen.”
The SSP is contesting all eight regional lists in the Scottish election.