Our Policies

What We’re Thinking

The Scottish Socialist Party is built on social solidarity and the spirit of resistance to oppression, injustice and nasty con tricks that strangle communities and people’s lives.

Life can be better than this. We have the resources, the know-how, we could be building a world based on people, not profit. We can, and should, be expanding the public sector, because more and more of us need it, and it creates jobs and training, it holds communities together and it supports families.

We should be raising the minimum wage, because we can afford to do this, through cutbacks in the defence budget and the raising of taxes on the rich, and because it helps to build strong, local economies.

We should be holding onto our schools and community halls, not closing them down like we were going out of business. We should be feeding our children healthy, locally sourced food, not the nutritionally deficient rubbish cooked up by the lowest bidder.

We should be investing in sustainable energy and a fully comprehensive, free public transport system, not building nuclear power stations and motorways.

The single biggest obstacle to the Scottish people building a better society is the British State, the Westminster regime, the Crown Powers.

Genuine independence for Scotland can only come from a break up of the British State but until we get to that point the Scottish Socialist Party campaigns for a programme that can be achieved if our society is run for people, not profit.

Building a better Scotland

Independence

The SSP is striving to create an independent, nuclear-free,multi-cultural, Scottish socialist republic.

That is a long term goal. In the short term, we can take a mighty leap forward towards that goal by breaking free of the suffocating stranglehold of the British state.

The SSP has never hidden its socialist politics. We are a working class party that stands up for ordinary people against big business and the rich. Our flag is deepest red.

But we work with other parties on the immediate objective of independence.

The SSP was the first party in Scotland to sign up to the cross-party Independence Convention, which now draws together the SSP, the SNP, the Greens and a range of individuals.

In 300 years the people of Scotland have never been given the chance to decide our own future.

Should we remain dependent on pocket money from London? Should we continue to be dragged into the inferno of war by a government which we cannot deselect?

Should we continue to tolerate in our midst a nuclear arsenal capable of wiping out a million years of evolution?

Should we continue to accept dawn raids and forced deportation of our children?

Or should we move forward into the 21st century as an independent nation state that can engage directly with the wider world beyond the English Channel and the North Sea?

For the SSP, the answer is clear.

But we are democrats. It is not for politicians to decide Scotland’s future. It is the people who must decide.

We are 100 per cent confident that when the arguments are presented for and against independence, the people of Scotland will decide to break with the past and march confidently forward into the future.

Scotland and the union

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • For a ‘Yes’ vote in any independence referendum.
  • Support for the cross-party Independence Convention.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • A directly elected Constitutional Assembly, representative of Scotland’s regional, gender and ethnic diversity to draw up options for a new constitution for Scotland, which would be put to a further referendum vote.
  • A nuclear-free Scotland that is outside of NATO
  • Military spending to be reduced to no more than the per capita level of the Republic of Ireland, which would mean slashing the defence budget by £2.5 billion.
  • A new relationship with the European Union which would safeguard Scotland’s independence.
  • All individuals living in Scotland to be entitled to full Scottish citizenship, irrespective of national origin.
  • A socialist Scotland based on the principles of equality, democracy, liberty, generosity and solidarity.

Democracy

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaigning for  the following:

  • The introduction of participatory democracy at community level by establishing local assemblies with the power to make and veto decisions that affect their community.
  • An increase in the maximum number of councillors per ward from 4 to 6, to allow greater proportionality and more representative local government.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • The abolition of the monarchy and all its structural and ideological supports, including the offensive ceremony whereby elected MSPs are forced to swear an oath of allegiance to an unelected monarch.
  • No unelected second chamber
  • All elections to be conducted under a genuinely proportional system, and the scrapping of the anti-democratic first-past-the-post system.
  • The reduction of the voting and candidacy age to 16.
  • The extension of the right to vote to people who are homeless and to those who are in prison.
  • Participatory democracy in the workplace.
  • Support for the open source software movement and for all public bodies to use open source software where available and appropriate.
  • Greater use of referenda to allow ordinary people a say in controversial decisions.

For the millions against the millionaires

Poverty and wealth

Instead of pandering to big business and the rich, the SSP believes that we should be standing up against corporate and personal greed.

In 1974, the Labour Party manifesto called for “a fundamental and irreversible shift in the balance of wealth and power to working people and their families”.

Since then, there has certainly been a fundamental shift in the balance of wealth and power. But it has been in the opposite direction – away from working people and their families, in favour of big business and the rich.

We believe that it’s time to swing the pendulum in the opposite direction: to tax the rich, redistribute wealth and income, curb the power of big business and move towards a society where our wealth and resources are harmonised for the benefit of the people rather than plundered by an elite.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • A new income-based Scottish Service Tax to replace the Council Tax.
  • The scrapping of domestic water charges, with household water financed via the Scottish Service Tax.
  • Special funding to enable Scotland’s 32 local authorities to recruit and train a team of welfare rights workers with special responsibility for identifying and assisting people who are failing to receive benefits to which they are entitled.
  • An expansion of locally-based money advice centres and credit unions.
  • A change in debt legislation to remove the threat of eviction and house repossession.
  • The extension of concessionary travel to carers.
  • The establishment of a cross-party working group, which would involve people affected by poverty and anti­poverty organisations, to address poverty and inequality in Scotland.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • A basic state pension of £160 a week and the restoration of the link between pensions and earnings.
  • Restoration of benefits to 16 and 17 year olds.
  • The restoration of lone parent benefits slashed by Westminster
  • A progressive tax system which will increase the top rate of taxation and reduce the tax burden on those on low incomes.
  • An overhaul of disability benefits to remove means testing.
  • The increase of all benefits by £30 a week with subsequent annual increases in line with inflation.
  • The regulation of banks and building societies to outlaw the practice of charging customers to access their own money, and charging customers who exceed their agreed overdraft limit, with refunds backdated five years.
  • The protection of public sector pension schemes.
  • Carers Allowance to be replaced with the national minimum hourly wage rate.
  • Rigorous new laws to prevent big business avoiding legitimate taxation.
  • A new corporate tax regime which forces Scotland’s most profitable companies to pay their fair share of taxation, at least to Nordic levels.
  • A two tier VAT system, with luxury goods taxed at 20 per cent and VAT on all other goods reduced from 20 per cent to its 1979 level of 8 per cent.
  • Public ownership of North Sea oil with the profits used for the benefit of the people rather the profiteers.
  • A socialist Scotland that will stand up to the forces of neo-liberalism and the free market.

Jobs and workers rights

The SSP is the only political party in Scotland that stands unequivocally on the side of workers and their rights. Every time workers are forced to strike, picket or demonstrate in defence of their pay, jobs, pensions and workplace rights the Scottish Socialist Party stands with them.

The SSP has members in all of the major trade unions and with many leading trade union members playing an active role in forming SSP policies, we present a comprehensive programme for trade unionists in Scotland.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to implementing the following:

  • A national minimum wage of £9 an hour for all public sector workers – two thirds of median male earnings.
  • A 35 hour week for all public sector workers without any loss of earnings.
  • The funding of 5000 new apprenticeships in construction-related trades.
  • Confiscation of the assets, including factories, offices and equipment, of multinational companies which shift production from Scotland to low wage economies elsewhere.
  • Full support for trade unionists forced to take strike action in defence of their living standards and working conditions.
  • All public sector trainees to be paid trade union negotiated rates of pay.
  • The regeneration of local economies by returning the Uniform Business Rate to the control of local authorities.
  • A skills diversification programme involving the Scottish Trades Union Congress, in preparation for the future decommissioning of Scotland’s nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons bases.
  • The right to jury trials on demand for cases involving compensation claims against employers, for example by victims of asbestos-related disease.
  • A ‘corporate killing bill’ and other legislation that will serve to hold company executives to account for the actions of their companies.
  • Workers’ control of health and safety at work through elected health and safety stewards.
  • Opposition to deregulation of Health and Safety legislation and cutbacks to H&S enforcement agencies.
  • Support for an NHS-based Occupational Health Service.
  • Promotion of International Workers’ Memorial Day.
  • Support for government funding of a Scottish Hazards Centre to assist, advise, train and represent workers in pursuit of improved health and safety in the workplace (including non-unionised ones).

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • A £9 national minimum wage – based on two-thirds median male earnings – for all over 16.
  • A 35 hour maximum working week without any loss of earnings as the ?rst step towards a four-day working week.
  • 12 months’ statutory paid maternity leave without loss of rights; and one month’s statutory paternity paid leave.
  • Partners being given the option of transferring some of their paid maternity/paternity leave to each other.
  • 6 weeks paid annual leave for all workers, plus public holidays (including defence of the May Day public holiday).
  • Free trade unions and the scrapping of all laws designed to restrict the rights of trade unionists.

Privatisation and social ownership

The public sector belongs to the people, to serve the people, through libraries, clinics, schools, community halls and other facilities.

Instead of slashing the public sector, the SSP is in favour of expanding it, by employing more nurses, more teachers, more workers providing local services for local communities.

In direct contrast to the SNP, we want to increase the proportion of the workforce who are involved in helping others, and decrease the proportion of workers whose function is to make money for wealthy shareholders.

The SSP would bring the railways, the buses, the hospital catering companies and other privatised industries back into the public sector.

And in a post-independence Scotland we would fight to bring North Sea oil and other energy-generating industries into the public sector, in order that the profits can be ploughed into protection of the environment, developing renewable energy and creating a world-class fare-free public transport system.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to implementing the following:

  • Public ownership and democratic management of all public utilities, and the replacement of all PFI/PFI and Scottish Futures Trust/NPD projects in favour of public funding paid for by progressive taxation (including a new Scottish Service Tax which would generate an extra £1.5 billion a year for public services in Scotland).
  • An end to private catering and cleaning contracts in the NHS and education.
  • Defiance of European Union laws over tendering where these laws threaten the livelihoods of Scottish workers.
  • Mandatory ethical and workers rights provisions to be included in all public sector procurement agreements.
  • The establishment of a Scottish national rail corporation to take over the Scotrail franchise when it expires in November 2014.
  • The creation of ten regional, publicly-owned bus companies, accountable to local councils.
  • The reversal of the part-privatisation of water and sewerage; and for Scotland’s water supply to be municipalised and run by groups of local authorities, along the lines of the police and fire boards.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • The establishment of a democratically run Scottish National Oil Corporation to take over the North Sea oilfields, with the profits used for public investment, including in renewable energy.
  • The extension of public ownership into profitable sectors of the economy, including the banks and financial institutions.
  • New forms of public ownership which reject top down nationalisation in favour of democratic management involving workers, communities, consumers and representatives of local and national government.

Safer communities

The SSP seriously addresses the issue of crime, the brunt of which is visited disproportionately on working-class communities, by making communities safer and creating a system that delivers justice for all.  Our proposal to provide heroin on prescription, as part of an integrated health strategy, was in the past derided as an irresponsible and provocative slogan.

It is now increasingly recognised, even by sections of the police hierarchy, as a serious, tried and tested solution, which would bring the problem of addiction out into the open and at the same time reduce crime.

Most burglaries and muggings in Scotland are committed by heroin addicts trying to access money to buy illegal drugs. Removing the need to steal cash to score drugs would remove the impetus towards crime.

The SSP will campaign for:

  • Replacement of the toothless Joint Police Boards with new community, regional and national police boards, which would hold the police to account and would include elected councillors, MSPs and directly elected community representatives.
  • A new drugs policy which will allow free heroin on prescription to registered addicts, under controlled conditions, to reduce petty crime and to undermine the lucrative criminal empires which have been built on the illegal supply of heroin.
  • The expansion of drug and alcohol rehabilitation and detox facilities.
  • A zero tolerance approach to violence and abuse towards children, women and vulnerable people.
  • A Scottish-wide strategy to reduce domestic abuse, including special domestic abuse courts, domestic abuse awareness training and roll out of the Caledonian System (domestic abuse perpetrator programme) through Scotland rehabilitation programmes.
  • All convicted sex offenders to be legally required to undergo a sex offender programme either within the community or within custody, depending upon the level of risk they pose.
  • Increased police resources speci?cally dedicated to monitoring and supervision of sex offenders.
  • The establishment of special secure units providing intensive rehabilitation for sex offenders who are judged to pose a continuing risk to the public.
  • An end to the practice which allows those accused of sex offences the right to cross-examine their alleged victims in court, and for these principles to be extended into civil litigation proceedings.
  • A reduction in Scotland’s prison population – already the highest in Western Europe pro-rata to the population– by expanding alternatives to custody for offenders who are not a danger to the public.
  • An end to the waste of the police and legal resources devoted to arresting and prosecuting people for the possession of cannabis for personal use.
  • Community youth forums across Scotland to identify what amenities are needed in each local area.
  • Local youth facilities in every community, run by young people.
  • Education, prevention and treatment to tackle bullying.
  • A system of accountability over the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Services, judges and sheriffs, with the involvement of organisations such as the Law Society of Scotland and Victim Support Scot land.
  • The right of prisoners to vote in elections, in line with recent legal rulings.
  • Extend ability to claim legal aid regardless of income for any case where a victim is seeking protection from unsafe contact abuse, violence, stalking, and harassment.
  • Introduce domestic abuse risk assessments by qualified and accredited professionals for any disputes in regards to domestic abuse and children.
  • Introduce multi agency violence against women task squads throughout Scotland to target perpetrators.
  • Roll out of multi agency risk assessment conferences throughout Scotland with fully funded advocacy services for adult victims and their dependents.
  • Legislative change that criminalises the buyers of sex from women and men in the “sex industry”.
  • The extension of legal aid to cover workplace and consumer disputes.
  • A new fast track appeals system to deal with suspected miscarriages of justice.
  • The reversal of all privatisation and PFI in the prison service.
  • The expansion of prison rehabilitation programmes, including education, training, psychiatric and psychological support, drug and alcohol detox, rehab and abstinence programmes.
  • Resistance to all Westminster interference in devolved matters.
  • For the Scottish Parliament to have the right to set its own laws on asylum, drugs, anti-terrorism and media regulation.

 For top quality public services

General health

The SSP would work towards eradicating the scandalous health inequalities that blight Scotland. Health inequalities arise from the power and income differences between groups which generate health problems more frequently for those who are most disadvantaged. Our range of progressive economic and social policies, as well as our investment in the NHS, will make the difference that every government since the introduction of the NHS has failed to do.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaigning for the following:

  • Free healthy school meals with milk and water for all state school pupils.
  • A continued policy of no prescription charges.
  • All school children to be entitled to receive and be encouraged to take up a minimum of three hours of physical education of their choice, with a range of alternatives for those who are unable to participate in standard PE classes.
  • Funding to enable local authorities to remove admission charges to fitness facilities, including swimming pools, sports centres and gymnasiums.
  • Free toothpaste and toothbrushes for all children and a dental hygiene campaign in all schools.
  • The establishment of a network of community-run supermarkets specialising in healthy local produce at the cheapest possible retail prices, starting with areas of high deprivation.
  • Increased funding for community psychiatric nurses to tackle Scotland’s mental health crisis which affects one in ?ve of the population, and is disproportionately concentrated in deprived areas.
  • Mental health treatment to be directed primarily towards rehabilitation rather than alleviation of symptoms.
  • People suffering mental illness to have access to a full range of treatment options – modern medication, counselling, short- and long-term psychotherapy, occupational therapy, diversional activities.
  • Treatment for mental illness to be primarily community-based, though backed up with modern, well-staffed inpatient facilities with single sex wards.
  • Respect for the rights of people with mental health problems, including public education to challenge the stigma associated with mental health and derogatory labelling of people with mental health problems.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • A publicly owned Scottish pharmaceutical corporation which would supply a range of cheap generic medicines for the NHS and work with universities to research new drug treatments. This corporation would sell generic medicines to third world countries at cost price, to help alleviate suffering from Aids and other treatable diseases.
  • Investment to be directed towards promoting health, preventing illness and curing disease when it does occur rather than on the profitable symptom-control medicines favoured by the private pharmaceutical companies.
  • All medical and scientific research to be published and made available for free on NHS databases.
  • A ban on the advertising of junk food.

The NHS

The NHS, once the beating heart of the welfare state, is now as badly in need of intensive care as many of its patients.

The SSP is not opposed to progressive changes which are clearly beneficial to patients and local communities. However, we will oppose will gratuitous hospital closures and ‘rationalisation’ of services imposed upon communities against their will.

The SSP campaigns for significant investment of public money to refurbish and extend premises, train and employ more nurses, doctors and ancillary staff, and bring essential services, from clinics to cleaning, back into the public fold.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaigning for the following:

  • A fully democratic and decentralised NHS, integrated with social services within the framework of local government. The day to day running of the NHS to be supervised by elected health boards consisting of medical professionals, other healthcare workers and local communities.
  • The cancellation of all existing PFI and PPP projects in favour of public investment.
  • A mean bed occupancy rate of 85 per cent to ensure there is adequate capacity to cope with any surge in demand.
  • Increased capacity in order to achieve a mean bed occupancy rate of 85 per cent in general wards; and a mean 75 per cent for intensive care units to ensure there are sufficient available beds to cope with any surge in demand.
  • An expansion of primary care services within a public model. All legislation expanding the role of the private sec­tor in primary care to be repealed.
  • The allocation of NHS spending according to health needs to redress the inverse care law.
  • An end to hospital closures except with the approval of the local community.
  • The phasing out of private health care and the incorporation of private medical facilities, services and resources into the NHS.
  • A charge on private medicine providers to recoup the costs to the public purse of the training and education of their staff.
  • A ban on consultants working for the private sector.
  • Proper funding for physiotherapy services.
  • A living income for student nurses.
  • Free childcare for NHS shift-workers.
  • Zero tolerance of violence against health workers.
  • Staff employed by private contractors to be brought back into NHS employment with NHS pay and conditions.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • The funding and resources to create a Scottish NHS which would match the best in the world.

Additional health needs

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaigning for the following:

  • Free personal care for everyone who needs it, including those under 65 with debilitating conditions such as dementia.
  • Free access to autism specific health services which acknowledge that the condition may in some cases be a health problem that can be helped by medical intervention.
  • All families with children who have been awarded on the higher rate care component of DLA to be entitled to at least 4 weeks respite care per year.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • Free care for everyone who needs it, without means-testing, including those in nursing homes and those under 65 with debilitating conditions such as dementia.
  • Increased funding for research into the causes and the most effective treatments for complex conditions such as dementia and autism.
  • People with autism to be eligible for all relevant benefits, including those connected with mobility, personal care, housing support and independent living.

Care and support of elderly people

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaigning for the following:

  • Free personal care for everyone who needs it, including those under 65 with debilitating conditions such as dementia.
  • Free access to autism specific health services which acknowledge that the condition may in some cases be a health problem that can be helped by medical intervention.
  • All families with children who have been awarded on the higher rate care component of DLA to be entitled to at least 4 weeks respite care per year.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • Free care for everyone who needs it, without means-testing, including those in nursing homes and those under 65 with debilitating conditions such as dementia.
  • Increased funding for research into the causes and the most effective treatments for complex conditions such as dementia and autism.
  • People with autism to be eligible for all relevant bene?ts, including those connected with mobility, personal care, housing support and independent living.

Higher and further education

The SSP seeks to create a new kind of education system, not one characterised by meaningless testing and homogenised curricula, but one where individual learning styles are recognised and accommodated, where democratic participation and egalitarianism are the order of the day, and where education is not a commodity but a lifelong, life enhancing passion, accessible to all, at any age, from any background, at any level.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaigning for the following:

  • Defending higher and further education as public services.
  • Ending any form of student contribution to fund HE which should be paid for from progressive taxation.
  • The reinstatement of student grants as a first step towards ending student poverty.
  • Investment in affordable, quality accommodation for students, while ensuring that no guaranteed above-in?ation rent increase agreements are reached with suppliers.
  • Curbing the undue influence of private businesses in the education system
  • The unification of all colleges into a co-operative network of institutions working together rather than competing against one another, under local democratic control.
  • Removal of the requirement for 50 per cent business sector representation on college boards, replacing this with representatives from teaching unions, ancillary staff, students, local councils and local communities.
  • Encouragement of life-long learning by providing equal educational oppor­tunities for mature students based on experience and prior learning.
  • An end to the capping system in Further Education to enable colleges to meet demand for learning in the communities they serve, including evening class provision and ESOL classes (English for speakers of other languages).
  • Increased provision of adult numeracy and literacy programmes.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scot­tish Parliament’s powers:

  • Students to be eligible for housing benefit.
  • Employers to be compelled to allow paid time-off for training and life-long learning opportunities.

Schools

Like health, education should be a right rather than a privilege. As things stand, inequality runs rife from preschool right through to post-grad, where some children are taught in noisy, overcrowded classrooms without enough books to go round, while others are taught in classes of ten, with state-of the- art resources and access to extra tuition.

The difference is money, and it is a difference that ensures one child grows up to live a broad and prosperous life, while another sees their future narrow to a vanishing point of unemployment and poverty even before they reach their teens.

The SSP seeks to redress this seasick imbalance in life chances, and to end the commodification of education by the business community, who would boil down our higher education system into a thin soup of business studies and management courses at the expense of languages, history and music.

We will pull the plug on the public subsidy of private schools, and instead plough money into state education, enhancing resources, taking on more teachers, and ensuring that all children, including those with special needs, have their needs met.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaigning for the following:

  • Maximum class sizes of 20.
  • No school closures except with the agreement of the local community.
  • The termination of all PPP and PFI projects and a return to the principle that education facilities be publicly funded.
  • School boards to become fully representative of local communities.
  • The opening of all schools and their facilities free of charge for non-profitable learning activities outside school hours and term time.
  • Enhanced facilities for pupils with additional needs.
  • Democratic and egalitarian restructuring of schools, with plenary staff decision-making and flattened pay scales.
  • Participation in decision-making by pupils, so as to embed the practice of democratic principles at the earliest age.
  • Support for the Parent Involvement Network as part of a national forum, involving parents, teachers and school students, to help shape and monitor the school curriculum and ensure its relevance to the needs of 21st century Scottish school students.
  • Bilingual education to be available for children from ethnic minorities.
  • Promotion of Gaelic and Scots, with all their diverse dialects.
  • Nutritious free school meals with milk and water for all primary and secondary pupils and replace the private sponsorship of school meals with freshly prepared meals.
  • A desegregated education system that allows for the rights of religious observance by all denominations. This would be implemented by consent and agreement rather than by compulsion and enforcement.
  • The recruitment of specialist teachers to support existing teachers in the areas of PE, Art, languages, Music and IT to enable class teachers to focus on core skills.
  • A long term solution to staf?ng shortages that does not rely on supply teachers.
  • A broadening of the criteria of assessment in schools to ensure league tables are not just exam-based.
  • Free publicly funded pre-school education for all three and four year olds in place of nursery vouchers.
  • Quality pre-school care for babies and toddlers up to the age of three.
  • Free after-school care for all primary and secondary school pupils.
  • Clean and well-supervised toilet facilities in all primary and secondary schools.
  • An £9 an hour minimum wage for all education workers with either holiday pay or the entitlement to claim bene?ts outside term times.

Special education

Like health, education should be a right rather than a privilege. As things stand, inequality runs rife from preschool right through to post-grad, where some children are taught in noisy, overcrowded classrooms without enough books to go round, while others are taught in classes of ten, with state-of the- art resources and access to extra tuition.

The difference is money, and it is a difference that ensures one child grows up to live a broad and prosperous life, while another sees their future narrow to a vanishing point of unemployment and poverty even before they reach their teens.

The SSP seeks to redress this seasick imbalance in life chances, and to end the commodification of education by the business community, who would boil down our higher education system into a thin soup of business studies and management courses at the expense of languages, history and music.

We will pull the plug on the public subsidy of private schools, and instead plough money into state education, enhancing resources, taking on more teachers, and ensuring that all children, including those with special needs, have their needs met.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaigning for the following:

  • Maximum class sizes of 20.
  • No school closures except with the agreement of the local community.
  • The termination of all PPP and PFI projects and a return to the principle that education facilities be publicly funded.
  • School boards to become fully representative of local communities.
  • The opening of all schools and their facilities free of charge for non-profitable learning activities outside school hours and term time.
  • Enhanced facilities for pupils with additional needs.
  • Democratic and egalitarian restructuring of schools, with plenary staff decision-making and flattened pay scales.
  • Participation in decision-making by pupils, so as to embed the practice of democratic principles at the earliest age.
  • Support for the Parent Involvement Network as part of a national forum, involving parents, teachers and school students, to help shape and monitor the school curriculum and ensure its relevance to the needs of 21st century Scottish school students.
  • Bilingual education to be available for children from ethnic minorities.
  • Promotion of Gaelic and Scots, with all their diverse dialects.
  • Nutritious free school meals with milk and water for all primary and secondary pupils and replace the private sponsorship of school meals with freshly prepared meals.
  • A desegregated education system that allows for the rights of religious observance by all denominations. This would be implemented by consent and agreement rather than by compulsion and enforcement.
  • The recruitment of specialist teachers to support existing teachers in the areas of PE, Art, languages, Music and IT to enable class teachers to focus on core skills.
  • A long term solution to staf?ng shortages that does not rely on supply teachers.
  • A broadening of the criteria of assessment in schools to ensure league tables are not just exam-based.
  • Free publicly funded pre-school education for all three and four year olds in place of nursery vouchers.
  • Quality pre-school care for babies and toddlers up to the age of three.
  • Free after-school care for all primary and secondary school pupils.
  • Clean and well-supervised toilet facilities in all primary and secondary schools.
  • An £9 an hour minimum wage for all education workers with either holiday pay or the entitlement to claim bene?ts outside term times.

Transport

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • Free bus, rail, underground and ferry travel within four years to cut carbon emissions, enhance social inclusion and save public money by reducing congestion, cutting road accidents and slashing the roads repair bill.
  • Re-regulation of Scotland’s buses.
  • The establishment of a Scottish National Bus Corporation, publicly owned and democratically run by regional boards.
  • The transfer of the Scotrail franchise when it expires in November 2014 to a publicly owned and democratically managed Scottish National Rail Corporation.
  • Immediate free rail, bus, underground and ferry travel for all pensioners, schoolchildren, students, people with disabilities, carers and benefit claimants.
  • A review of all new road building and upgrading, with priority given to road safety improvements and better road maintenance rather than bigger and faster roads.
  • All money raised by government and local authorities from parking meters, and car parks to be ring-fenced for public transport.
  • A system of ferry pricing based on the Road Equivalent Tariff which successfully operates in Norway. This means that the cost of a ferry journey for a bus, lorry or car and occupants should be no more than the cost of a road journey over the same distance.
  • 20 mph zones (around schools for instance) with traffic calming in all residential streets where requested by the local community to cut the unacceptably high number of child deaths.
  • Expansion of the provision of low-cost park-and-ride schemes to reduce congestion in major towns and city centres.
  • A national cycle strategy worked out with cycling organisations to develop an extensive network of safe, well-maintained and well-lit cycle tracks; and high quality cycle training for all primary 6/7 pupils.
  • The development of a similar strategy to encourage walking, including the funding of well-lit, properly maintained pavements and footpaths.
  • The phasing in of alternative fuels (e.g. electric motors, H fuel cells) for public service vehicles.
  • The bringing back into public ownership of trunk road maintenance.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • Special road tolls for heavy goods vehicles, based on annual mileage as registered on tacographs.
  • A shift of heavy goods from road to rail wherever feasible, facilitated by the building of new dedicated freight lines.

Housing

Scotland is now sitting on a ticking housing time-bomb. The number of first-time buyers is dwindling rapidly – down from 50 per cent to 20 per cent of the market over the past ten years.

Rather than a genuine growth in home ownership, we have a sellers’ market, a financial merry-go-round with the main beneficiaries being the mortgage lenders.

To make matters worse the social rented sector is at the point of collapse.

Decades of government cuts in housing support to local authorities, combined with the disastrous right-to-buy policy, has condemned hundreds of thousands of families to a life sentence served out in dilapidated, crime ridden housing schemes.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • The cancellation of Scotland’s local authority housing debt with no strings attached.
  • The building of 100,000 fully accessible new homes for rent over four years, bringing public sector house building into line with the private sector.
  • The right of local authorities to impose a land value tax on land and property worth over £1million to help ?nance the building of social housing for rent.
  • A new minimum housing standard in both the public and private rented sectors, with central heating, double-glazing and high standards of insulation.
  • A major renovation programme to include all stock, except where tenants themselves favour demolition.
  • The replacement of the ‘right-to-buy’ policy with a graduated rents discount set at the same level as the discount available for tenants to buy their council homes. After 25 years, tenants would pay zero rent until their tenancy is terminated or transferred to another member of the family.
  • An end to all wholesale housing stock transfers.
  • Construction companies to be required to build one new home for rent for every ?ve new homes built for sale. These new homes for rent would be owned and managed by the relevant local authority or community-based housing association and would contribute towards the target of 100,000 new homes for rent.
  • All tenants, including new tenants and those in the private sector, to be guaranteed secure tenancies in line with the new Scottish secure tenancy agreement.
  • The transformation of the appearance of our housing schemes, employing environmental artists, landscape gardeners and others with relevant skills.
  • Council and housing association tenants to be involved in all strategic planning decisions.
  • The extension of the Scottish Secure Tenancy to private sector tenants.
  • All homes identified as ‘below tolerable standard’ in the private sector to be brought into public ownership if the landlord fails to bring them up to standard within a six month deadline.
  • A national construction apprenticeship scheme to turn around the skills shortage in the building industry. This would aim to train 5,000 new apprentices each year.
  • The establishment of council tenant forums with real powers at neighbourhood and city-wide level, along with similar forums for housing association tenants and for those in the private rented sector.
  • Each tenant forum to be allocated £5 for every house that they represent. This will generate at least £4-5million for the re-establishment of the tenant movement in Scotland.
  • Council and housing association tenants to be involved in all strategic planning decisions.
  • Homeless organisations to be provided with the resources they require to end rough sleeping, including hostels as an interim measure until proper homes are available for everyone.
  • Safe housing for women/families who have suffered domestic violence or other forms of abuse.
  • An end to the public funding of private home ownership.
  • Legislation to give local councils the power to ban holiday homes in their area where they believe there is a local housing shortage.
  • Legislation to stop social landlords evicting their tenants, particularly vulnerable households and families with children.
  • With 62% of Scotland’s social housing currently falling beneath the New Scottish Housing Quality Standard, the SSP campaigns for housing investment to make vital improvements in order to prevent social housing seriously damaging the physical and mental health of tenants across Scotland.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • Public ownership and democratic management of the construction industry.
  • The reinstatement of housing support grant from central government back to local government, based on pre-1980s levels, increased in line with the retail-price index. This would provide Scotland’s councils with sufficient funding to carry out repairs, house building, and renovation as well as to reduce rents.

Sport, culture and entertainment

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • Free access to all publicly-owned cultural and recreational centres including art galleries, museums and sports centres.
  • A commitment to revitalise the Gaelic language, including setting a four-year target of making available Gaelic language lessons to all children and adults who wish to learn the language with Gaelic and Scots to be given equal legal status with English.
  • Support for the Gaelic Digital Service, and for the necessary infrastructure and coverage to make the service available on all media platforms including the internet.
  • Encouragement of the various ethnic cultures that have enriched Scotland over the past half-century.
  • An end to the sell-off of football pitches and other sports facilities to property developers.
  • Senior football clubs to distribute a portion of their seats, free of charge, to pensioners and benefit claimants via local community councils.
  • Free football coaching schools in local communities open to girls and boys.
  • Coaching and training facilities to allow Scottish athletes to compete at world class levels.
  • A national film studio in Scotland to develop the outstanding acting, writing, and film-making talent in the country.
  • A national project aiming to transform the drab appearance of our towns and housing schemes through murals, ornamental gardens, sculpture, fountains, monuments, mazes, performance areas and architectural restoration.
  • The replacement of Creative Scotland with an artist-led organisation which is more open, democratic and representative body.
  • No cuts in community-based arts ventures.
  • No cuts in Scotland’s overall arts budget.
  • Action to ensure that all publicly-owned sporting, leisure and recreational facilities are fully accessible to disabled people.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • A Scottish Six O’Clock news broadcast on BBC.
  • The responsibility for broadcasting to be transferred to the Scottish Parliament.

Local Government

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • Total opposition to all local authority spending cuts. The suplus generated from the implementation of a Scottish Service Tax would provide £1.5 Billion to maintain and extend local government services.
  • An end to the Uniform Business Rate, with local councils given back control over non-domestic rates subject to an equalisation mechanism to ensure that all local councils get a fair deal.
  • An income-based Scottish Service Tax to replace the Council Tax.
  • A fully proportional electoral system, to be achieved by reinforcing the new STV electoral with larger multi-members wards of seven or eight members.
  • An end to privatisation, PFI and PPP in the provision of local facilities and services.
  • A gradual decentralisation of powers to local councils, for example in transport and health, backed by additional funding.

For a clean green Scotland

Energy, pollution and the environment

Unlike other political parties, the Scottish Socialist Party doesn’t pretend that lobbying corporations to behave more responsibly with regards to the environment is anything but futile.
Corporations have one priority – profit.

Until they can make money through cleaning up their act, they won’t. So let’s give them no choice, let’s demand rather than ask, through carbon capping and toxic waste legislation that doesn’t give them the room to simply buy their way out of trouble.

We understand that environmentalism cannot happen in a vacuum. If we establish ourselves as a living, breathing example of sustainability, we would serve as an example to the whole world, and help to exert pressure on other governments to do likewise.

Someone has to go first – why not us? We seek a world that is sustainable, forward-looking and in which people can thrive.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to implementing the following:

  • Responsibility for energy to be transferred from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament and the wealth of Scottish energy resources to be brought into public ownership. This will allow the full development of these resources in an ecologically sustainable and socially just manner putting people and planet before profit.
  • An independent audit commission, to enforce Scottish climate emissions targets of at least three per cent a year.
  • The tightening of building regulations to compel construction companies to use sustainable sources for their construction materials and to ensure that energy efficiency is built into the design of buildings and appliances fitted.
  • Every new building, including private homes, to be carbon neutral by 2016.
  • 100 per cent grants, available to all,  for insulation and double-glazing in private homes.
  • All rented housing to have compulsory insulation and double-glazing.
  • The replacement of overhead pylons with underground cables where environmentally beneficial.
  • The cancellation of all airport expansion projects.
  • A ban on the transportation of nuclear materials on Scotland’s roads and railways.
  • The protection by law of ancient forests.
  • An expanded, fully integrated, publicly owned, fully accessible and free public transport network.
  • The cancellation of new road-building projects.
  • A reduction in urban traffic by extending pedestrianisation of town and city centres and halting all further development of out-of-town shopping malls.
  • Diversification and alternative employment opportunities for fishing communities.
  • A conservation scheme to protect wildlife habitats and parkland from industrial development.
  • An audit of all contaminated land to identify areas that may pose a potential health hazard and embark on a safe and comprehensive containment or clean-up programme.
  • Environmental education to be incorporated into the curriculum of primary, secondary, further and higher education.
  • Kerbside collection of materials for recycling, including glass, from every household in Scotland.
  • Recycling bins in every public building and workplace.
  • All suppliers of goods to the public sector to be legally required to use biodegradable and recyclable packaging.
  • A ban on any release of genetically modified organisms into the environment and effective testing of food and animal feed imports from countries which do grow GM crops to ensure that food and feed imports are not contaminated.
  • A ban on the sale of GM food products.
  • Public contracts to be refused to any company with a record of dangerous work practices or polluting the environment.
  • Local communities to be provided with information about any plan to construct a mobile phone mast within a one mile radius and to have the right of veto.
  • No new incinerators.
  • Serious waste reduction targets to be set for every local authority area, backed by whatever resources are necessary to deliver these targets.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • An international 90 per cent reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide by the year 2030 together with significant reductions of other greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Investment in alternative energy technologies, including community-owned wind farms, tidal power and clean coal technology.
  • Public and community ownership of energy, including oil, windfarms, electricity, coal and gas, with a proportion of all profits ring-fenced for investment in alternative energy.
  • An end to the imposition of pre-payment meters on those who owe debts to gas and electricity companies.
  • Refunds backdated by five years to households which have been forced to pay the higher charges associated with pre-payment meters.
  • Increased taxation on aviation fuel, with revenue used to improve high speed rail and ferry links between Scotland and mainland Europe.
  • Resistance to the building of any new nuclear power plants in Scotland, and the setting of a clear timetable for the decommissioning of existing nuclear power stations.
  • A target date for all public service vehicles to be carbon-free.
  • Legislation making it illegal to own, as well as to import, illegally logged timber.
  • All biofuels to have sustainability and greenhouse gas certification.
  • The establishment of elected anti-pollution boards at national and local level to monitor and enforce pollution controls, and for these boards to have the power to impose penalties.
  • A shift of focus away from pure economic growth as measured by gross domestic product, in favour of a more balanced measurement of the quality of life.

Land and rural regeneration

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • The building of 20,000 fully accessible new homes across Scotland’s rural communities for low cost rent to local people.
  • Public and community ownership of Scotland’s vast landed estates and corporate farms.
  • Local councils to be allowed to set special local taxes on second homes.
  • Extra funding for public amenities and public transport in sparsely populated areas that lack social facilities.
  • The shop in single shop villages to be exempted from business rates.
  • Local and regional initiatives to bring performing artists and productions to rural areas, and encourage the development of sport, drama, live music and the performing arts.
  • The release of funds to increase the numbers of mobile and small cinemas serving isolated areas.
  • A halt to the closure of small rural schools.
  • The setting up of a network of community post offices to replace those lost through UK government cuts.
  • Increased funding to the Rural Transport Community Initiative to allow people living in remote and isolated areas access to social, leisure, shopping, health and other services.
  • Government grants to enable small farmers to establish farming co-operatives, where they can agree prices for produce and thus resist the power of supermarkets to drive down prices.
  • Government grants for local food cooperatives, selling local produce in town centres, villages and housing schemes at reasonable prices.
  • Grants and assistance to help farmers convert to organic farming.
  • Free school meals with the ingredients purchased from local farmers.
  • The expansion of the number of allotments in Scotland and the protection of existing allotments from the infringement of developers in recognition of their important environmental, health and recreational role in our communities.
  • The establishment of a national body along the lines of SportScotland to promote and support gardening in all its forms.
  • Road Equivalent Tariff scheme to be rolled out across every Scottish ferry route.
  • Elected and accountable River Boards to remove fishing rights in rivers and lochs from the control of private landowners and bring them under public control, thus allowing the relevant authorities to keep control of fish stocks.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • Full trade union rights and protection for farm workers.
  • The rural economy to be geared towards providing quality local foods for regional markets, rather than exports.
  • Immediate withdrawal from the EU Common Fisheries Policy with a 25 mile offshore limit within which only Scottish fishermen and women can fish.
  • Local management of sea fisheries, based on the Finnish model, where environmental sustainability is a key priority alongside community sustainability.

Animal welfare

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • Full support for the ban on foxhunting and resistance to any future moves to water down the legislation.
  • A ban on the abuse of animals in entertainment and sport.
  • An end to battery farming, factory farming and other forms of intensive farming.
  • Stringent new legislation for zoos to ensure that animals held in captivity do not suffer ill-treatment.
  • Similar legislation to prevent cruelty to animals at market and at slaughter.
  • Financial support for co-operatively  owned local abattoirs to avoid transport of live animals over long distances.
  • Animal welfare to be incorporated into the curriculum of primary and secondary schools, as part of personal and social education.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the powers of the Scottish Parliament:

  • A ban on animal testing for cosmetics, household products and military research.
  • A ban on unnecessary use of animal testing in medical research.
  • The replacement of the ineffective Dangerous Dogs Act with new non-breed based legislation which recognises the responsibility of owners for aggressive behaviour by their dogs.

For diversity and equality

Women's rghts

Women, who comprise slightly more than half the population, continue to be underpaid and undervalued, through low wages and a failure to recognise the importance of child-rearing and caring for elderly relatives, the burden of which falls disproportionately on women.

The debacle that followed the Single Status Agreement highlights the fact that discrimination against women also blights the lives of men. Female council workers should have had their pay increased and been compensated for years of underpayment. Instead, male workers’ wages were dragged down to the level of their underpaid female colleagues.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • Free, publicly funded nursery places for all pre-school children.
  • A minimum 12 months’ maternity leave, on full pay for public sector workers, with the right to return part time if requested.
  • After-school, weekend and holiday clubs in every locality for school age children.
  • Equal access for all women to abortion services regardless of where they live in Scotland.
  • An end to cuts to, and full funding for Women’s Aid and other agencies which provide refuges, helplines and drop in centres for women who have experienced violence, abuse, rape and child sexual abuse.
  • Free environmentally-friendly sanitary protection for all women.
  • The expansion of initiatives such as ‘Routes Out of Prostitution’.
  • The decriminalisation of women involved in prostitution, recognition of men who buy sex as abusers, and increased police resources to enforce a clamp down on kerb-crawlers in red light districts.
  • The closure of saunas and massage parlours which operate as legalised brothels.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • A minimum 12 months maternity leave on full pay, for all workers, with the right to return part time if preferred.
  • The average worker’s wage for any parent, male or female, who chooses to care full-time for their children or any other dependants.
  • Equal representation for women at all levels of government.

Youth rights

Young people also deserve respect. Instead, they are ruthlessly exploited as cheap labour and targeted by loansharks masquerading as respectable high street banks and credit card companies. And blamed for rising crime and disintegrating communities.
The SSP will fight to establish a decent minimum wage for all, including 16 to 18 year olds.We will campaign for the restoration of student grants to guarantee educational opportunities for everyone, from any walk of life.
Further, we seek to place young people at the hearts of our communities, through youth forums and youth centres, school student unions and the right to vote at 16. This will deliver both rights and responsibilities to our greatest asset – our future.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • A maintenance grant for all college and university students.
  • The abolition of student fees, the graduate endowment, and recognition of free education as a universal right.
  • The funding of 5000 new apprenticeships.
  • Community youth forums across Scotland to identify what amenities are needed in each local area.
  • Funding to set up local youth facilities in every community, run democratically by young people.
  • Free access to all publicly owned cultural and recreational centres including sports centres, arts galleries and museums.
  • Free bus and ferry travel for school, college and university students.
  • The right to vote and stand for office at 16.
  • Support for current initiatives to establish a national school students union to support and represent school students facing bullying, harassment and discrimination. The union would also represent students on new democratic school boards.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • An end to discrimination against young workers by establishing a uniform national minimum wage for all workers over 16 years. (The SSP would set this ?gure at two thirds the median male earnings, currently £9 an hour).

(Note: The SSP has an active youth wing, Scottish Socialist Youth)

Disabled people's rights

The SSP recognises that disability is an important political issue. Disabled people experience disadvantage and oppression, not due to their impairments, but as a result of discrimination and barriers erected by the society we live in. The SSP considers disabled people as equal citizens who are entitled to participate and contribute to society.

We will never let up our struggle to provide equality of opportunity, and the means to access those opportunities, through financial, legislative and practical support.

That support should include disabled access to public buildings and public transport, increased support for personal assistants/carers – including respite – and financial support to facilitate independent living within communities.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • A network of staff to be employed and trained specifically to provide full sup­port and assistance to those applying or being reassessed for disability living allowance and incapacity benefit.
  • Full funding for community care.
  • Increased support for those who care for or assist family or friends with disabilities, including education, respite and counselling services.
  • Comprehensive and enforced stan­dards of accessibility on all public transport.
  • Housing to be adapted to meet the needs of disabled occupants on request.
  • Existing public buildings to be converted to ensure access for disabled people.
  • Increased resources to promote and provide training in British Sign Language, for assistants, public sector workers, education employees and others.
  • BSL to be taught in all schools, with free courses in BSL at all levels for any adult or child who wishes to develop their skills in the language.
  • Reduced waiting lists for Community Care Assessments, rehabilitation and Occupational Therapy services.
  • A consultation with disabled people and their personal assistants or carers on the provision and location of more disabled parking bays close to shops, cinemas, hospitals and other facilities.
  • Free access for all disabled people to educational, sporting, cultural and other leisure facilities.
  • Increased funding to allow local authorities to meet the demand for Direct Payments, which allow disabled people to receive the assistance necessary to allow them to live fulfilling independent lives in the community.
  • The guaranteed right of disabled people to autonomy, including the right to choose where to live and to plan their own packages of personal assistance and/or care through local authorities.
  • Care packages to be portable across local authorities.
  • The guaranteed right of disabled people to be treated with dignity, including at the end of their lives.
  • Disabled children and old people to have the same right to life and medical treatment as non-disabled people; no disabled people to be starved to death because the medical profession considers them untreatable.
  • Adequate resources, advice and support for disabled adults to obtain suitable employment which they find enjoyable and ful?lling and which has a career structure.
  • Funding and support for disabled people’s organisations to ensure the views of disabled people are clearly heard

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • Replacement of the Disability Discrimination Act with fully comprehensive, enforceable civil rights legislation as demanded by the dis­abled people’s movement. This legislation will be backed up by heavy fines and even imprisonment for the bosses of organisations that do not comply with it. Such rights will include: access to information in appropriate formats; full access to education at all levels; the right to employment for all disabled people and fair treatment at work; equal access to all goods, facilities and services.
  • Better accessibility to all goods, facilities and services including public transport, public buildings and the majority of housing stock. This would include wheelchair users and those with mental health impairments.
  • A total reform of the benefits system to remove all barriers to disabled people moving in and out of work; and to provide all disabled people with an income equal to at least the living wage plus additional allowances to take account of the additional costs of being disabled.
  • Resources to enable all disabled people the opportunity of to living independently in a fully accessible and attractive house with appropriate personal assistance.
  • Free care without means testing for all those who could benefit from it, with freedom of choice over the means of obtaining this personal assistance and/or care.
  • The right for disabled people to partic­ipate fully in all aspects of society.
  • British Sign Language (BSL) to be recognised as an official language of an independent Scotland.

Elderly people's rights

Scotlands elderly people are being put out to grass and forgotten after a lifetime of hard work and service. We will campaign for free access for pensioners to sports, leisure and educational facilities designed specifically for pensioners.
The SSP campaigns to restore the link between pensions and earnings, to abolish rents for pensioners in social and sheltered housing, to end the insulting practice of means-testing for benefits and to provide free fuel and phone facilities during the often deadly months of winter.
The bullying of old people is matched only by the government’s bullying of disabled people and those with long-term illnesses, through trying to confiscate their benefits and force them into unsuitable, low-paid jobs.
This is no way to treat people, especially those already struggling to cope with health problems.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • The scrapping of rents for pensioners who are housing association or council tenants, including for those who live in sheltered housing.
  • Free access for pensioners to sports, leisure and educational facilities designed speci?cally for pensioners.
  • Forums which bring together elderly and younger people to exchange experiences and break down age barriers.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • The basic state pension to be increased to £160 a week and linked to prices or earnings, whichever is the higher.
  • Reduction of the retirement age to 55, for men and women.
  • Retirement to be genuinely voluntary, with the right of workers to continue whether part-time or full-time beyond retirement age.
  • The pension industry to be taken into the public sector and to be administered transparently and democratically.
  • Free heating, phone rental and TV licenses for all pensioners.

LGBT rights (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual)

The SSP welcomes the legal rights won by our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered citizens, but will continue the fight for pension rights, and to protect LGBT asylum seekers who face deportation to countries where they will be persecuted because of their sexuality.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • Guaranteed long term funding for community projects supporting LGBT people, under direct democratic control of service users, with full transparency and accountability.
  • Educational projects in schools and colleges aimed at eradicating homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and isolation.
  • The strengthening of civil partnership legislation to full equality with marriage, including religious ceremonies.
  • Measures to tackle rural LGBT isolation through funding outreach and support projects across Scotland.
  • LGBT officers for local authorities, with secure funding for LGBT projects.
  • Full implementation of anti-discrimination laws in provision of goods and services, including hospital visitation rights for partners.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • Full recognition of homophobic persecution as a legitimate reason to seek asylum, equal immigration rights, ending the two year co-habitation rule and granting leave to remain to LGBT asylum seekers.
  • Equal pension rights, including survivors’ rights for all pension schemes.

Racism and sectarianism

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • Educational projects on issues of racist and sectarian stereotyping and discrimination in all schools.
  • All public information to be provided in the main languages of Scotland’s ethnic minority communities.
  • Full support for organisations challenging racism and sectarianism, including Show Racism the Red Card, Nil By Mouth and the Scottish Anti-Fascist Alliance.
  • Work with football clubs, in particular the Old Firm, to eradicate sectarianism from our culture.
  • The SSP supports the long struggle of Scottish Gypsy Travellers for recognition as a distinct ethnic minority with full legal protection. Full implementation of the 37 recommendations agreed by the Scottish Parliament in 2001. A full apology from the Scottish Government for the past discrimination and genocidal policies of previous governments and public bodies.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • The granting of Scottish citizenship to all people residing in Scotland at the time of independence, including asylum seekers and so-called “illegal residents”.
  • A warm welcome to any asylum seekers who come to Scotland in the future, and the offer of Scottish citizenship to those who want it.
  • For Dungavel Detention Centre for asylum seekers to be turned into a museum of anti-racism and multiculturalism.

For peace and international co-operation

International solidarity

The Scottish Socialist Party fights for a Scotland which seeks a relationship with the wider world based on cooperation, peace and solidarity with our fellow human beings.

We will campaign for socialism in Scotland and offer friendship and support to those working to the same ends across the world – to those resisting neoliberalism, military occupation, genocide, national and cultural oppression.

We fully support the Palestinians in their struggle for self-determination against US-sponsored brutality; the Colombian trade unionists in their battles for justice against against Coca-Cola; the left wing governments in Venezuela, Cuba and other Latin American countries which are standing up to the might of the USA; the indigenous peoples across the world fighting back against racism; the anti-war and pro-peace organisations; the green groups and coops; all those whose tireless fight against injustice forms a string of lights across the world that will one day illuminate it whole.

We fight for peace and for the people to inherit the earth.

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to implementing the following:

  • Solidarity with those forces in the Arab world struggling for democracy, progress and against the oppression of pro-western dictatorships.
  • Solidarity with all those resisting globalisation and neo-liberalism world­wide, including trade unionists, anti-poverty campaigners, national liberation movements, environmentalists, and small farmers’ and peasants’ movements.
  • Ethical procurement policies by all public bodies, and opposition to the award of contracts to companies who fail to observe basic ethical standards on child labour, poverty pay and environmental degradation.
  • Support for the stance of those governments resisting globalisation and imperialism, such as in Cuba and Venezuela and for the peoples around the globe struggling for self-determination.
  • Support for the Palestinian people in their just fight for an independent homeland; and for Israeli dissidents and peace campaigners.
  • Support for all other peoples struggling for national self-determination.
  • Agricultural and industrial subsidies and grants distributed in Scotland to be vetted to ensure they do not contribute to increased impoverishment or environmental degradation overseas.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • Fair trade country status for Scotland.
  • The immediate and total cancellation of debt from the poor countries of the Third World to the rich countries of the First World.
  • International pressure to abolish the United Nations’ Security Council and to democratise the General Assembly – the sovereign body of the UN.
  • The refoundation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as a Fair Trade Organisation (FTO) – ensuring minimum environmental and social standards are met in internationally traded products. This new organisation would be democratic – and the system of ‘green room’ decision making, where more powerful countries plan strategies in private – would be banned.
  • The replacement of international lending institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund with an international clearing organisation – to ensure debts are written off and reparation paid to countries who have suffered at the hands of the current system.
  • Full support for the introduction of a Tobin-like tax on all cross-border commercial transactions, reducing a major cause of economic instability and providing a fund for international development.
  • A new and radical style of open and transparent diplomacy, with all negotiations and deliberations to be held in public.
  • A truly internationalist Scotland that welcomes refugees and supports all those struggling worldwide against political, economic and national oppression.
  • The withdrawal of Scotland from NATO and the initiation of an international campaign for its abolition.
  • The funding of schemes to encourage young Scots to teach and work on overseas development projects.
  • A worldwide alliance of socialist and progressive political parties, trade unions and grassroots organisations.
  • Scotland to be an international force for peace not war, for social justice not corporate profit.

War and peace

In a devolved Scotland the SSP is committed to campaign for the following:

  • A declaration by the Scottish Parliament calling for the immediate withdrawal of UK troops from Afghanistan.
  • A declaration by the Scottish Parliament opposing any UK involvement in US or NATO led military action against Iran, North Korea or anywhere else.
  • A declaration from the Scottish Parliament opposing the use of Scottish airports and airspace for US “rendition” and secret torture ?ights, or the transportation of military personnel and hardware.
  • The transportation of nuclear warheads on Scotland’s roads, railways and waterways to be prohibited.

We will also campaign for the following measures, which are not within the Scottish Parliament’s powers:

  • The removal of all nuclear weapons from Scotland.
  • Scotland’s overall military budget to brought into line per capita with that of the Republic of Ireland with the savings diverted to vital public services.
  • Guaranteed employment and/or retraining with no loss of pay for workers who would no longer be employed in the defence industry and special funding earmarked for local communities currently dependent on defence spending.

Comments (29)

  • John Clements

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    As most people know, our country is run by a group of multi millionaires. Like most people with money they live on a different planet from the rest of us. They lose touch with reality, and see themselves as a special elite. They usually develop a ‘them and us’ mentality, and see the poor and under privileged as wasters and work shy. Which is very far from the truth. Not everyone was born into wealth and privilege, most of us have to get by on a secondary education, and work hard to better our position. Some people make it while others give up and take to drink or drugs out of disapointment and despair. It should not be this way. We never came here to be exploited, to be murdered, raped, sexually abused, and made to fight in wars that don’t concern us. We’re better than this.

    Reply

    • Jon

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      A lot of privileged people turn to drink and drugs as well. It’s easier now than it ever has been for someone from the poorest background to ‘better their position’ and if they do they will most likely give their kids the private education that they never had. They wouldn’t achieve that by being socialists. Socialism is fine if you have no ambition, it’s poor mans politics

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      • Andy

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        Jon it has never been HARDER for people from modest and poor backgrounds to better their circumstances. The UK has the second worst rate of social mobility in the Global North for example 32% of MPs, 51% of top Medics, 54% of FTSE-100 chief execs, 54% of top journalists, 70% of High Court judges went to private school, though only 7% of the population do. And the top 1% of the UK population has a greater share of national income than at any time since the 1930s. We live in an elitist society, a society that benefits at few at the expense of the many. Socialism offers a better way.

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  • Gareth

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    I would agree about most things you have said,but how would you change that ? I think the people of Scotland are a people of thier own who are more than capable of making thier own choices good or bad and learaning from them,id also say we like to look after one another which differs us from people who voted for thacher for example but with the poor out numbering the rich just how do these people get in charge ?? Im interested in joining a party that is going to make a differance all be it small or big

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  • craig

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    This is all fantasy, with little understanding how the real world works and ultimately everyone would be worse off. International employers will leave Scotland and OIL companies will not bother to extract north sea oil unless their is a a decent profit to be made and you will need their expertise to get at the dwindling supplies. Many of these ideas have been tried in the UK and other countries in the past and they simply don’t work. In fact, to get people out of poverty even the most hard line socialist countries do the opposite to what this manifesto suggests. Look how dramatically china changed when it ditched so many of its socialist ideals.

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    • david soulsby

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      Very few if any of these Ideas have ever been tried in a modern context in the UK. China was never a socialist country it was a totalitarian communist regime. Please do not confuse the two. You must remember however that the Chinese Communist Party managed to feed, clothe and house nearly a billion people who were in dire need. On the oil Norway has a National Oil co. owned by the state. Only Norwegian Rigs can drill for Norway’s Oil and they must be built there and run for the benefit of the Norwegian people.

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  • Martin

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    It is easy to be cynical about the real world, but at some time the first step must be taken to fundamentally change the world in which we live. There is no doubt that the UK is currently run for the overall benefit of a rich elite. The current UK government is one of the most openly corrupt and elitist governments. It has to change at some point, otherwise we are all finished. The current capitalist system is an unsustainable puppet economy controlled by the largest corporations, including the banks, for the benefit of themselves. It cannot go on like this. The Tory manifesto was a fantasy before they got into power with the LibDems and it remains a fantasy! There is no doubt that the aims of the SSP are idealistic, but unlike all the other parties, they are progressive. I support the nationalisation of the Scottish oil industry and creating a sustainable economy with incentives for new business to base themselves in Scotland. Implement rent controls and return the responsibility of housing to the local authorities, as well as introducing measures to redevelop the council housing stock.

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    • Heather

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      Totally agree with you on the housing issue. If we had decent council housing we could also get rid of those overcharging landlords who don’t even maintain their properties. When I had my first house (many years ago) my rent, including rates, was £7 per week, £28.00 a month. I earned £40.00 weekly then and my husband earned more. Rent was not a problem. People are lucky now if they earn enough in a week to pay a months rent. Where I work we have to ask for ID and sometimes its their tenancy agreements and you should see what so called “charitable” organisations charge the homeless for rent per month. You could buy a mansion with it.

      Reply

  • Alan Harvey

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    How come so many communists are against scottish indy?

    Reply

  • Emily

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    Instead of leaving the UK and improving Scotland, could you improve the whole of the UK? I live in North West England and would quite like it if a large part of our country did not abandon us.

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    • Scott

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      “Instead of leaving the UK and improving Scotland, could you improve the whole of the UK?”

      No, unfortunately. That is the UK’s choice and the UK is choosing to sway further towards the right-wing politically, and towards Tories.

      Scotland is naturally more socialist in its views and with a separation from the UK it would be the easiest and most convenient way to develop a small left-wing country.

      It wouldn’t actually be a bad thing for you, it wouldn’t be abandoning you as a victim of the government you are under. First of all if you take all past general elections where Tories have won the election, and remove all of Scotland’s votes, Tories still win the election, Scotland has no influence within the UK on the UK. However Scotland as an independent country would have strong influential powers over the UK, and nearby areas such as; Wales, Northern Ireland, Northern England.

      How do you like the idea of the North of England democratically voting to join Scotland in a new Union?

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    • james

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      scotland is a country its not a region of the uk or britain britains a region like europe the uk is supposed to be a union of kingdoms so while you live in the north east of england i dont live in the north of the uk i live in the west coast of scotland also we wont abandon our freinds and family in england they will still be supported by us scots

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      • cas

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        Makes no difference if it is a country or a region, surely? Catalonia is a region of Spain with its own Socialist government(I think). I sure would like some consistent, socialist government and wish to god we could just get on with the, pressing business of reducing our consumption of Earth’s resources and creating some jobs for life in recycling and renewable resources!

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  • Neil Scott

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    Alan Harvey- the Communist Party of Scotland, the biggest Communist organisation in Scotland has declared for Yes.

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    • cas

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      That’ll make America even more scared of Scotland! May I just say, Obama, don’t be scared, just let your poor have a say and you, Cameron; proportional representation please, now, without which democracy is a bit of a farce.

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  • Peter Wishart

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    As an ex-miner albeit, not through personal choice. I, like many thousands entered the coal mining industry of being promised a job for life. That was until, Thatchers elected Government in 1979 sought out to demolish one of the most militant and loyal unions in the UK. I worked in Seafield Colliery in Kirkcaldy until its immature closure in 1988. It entered the NCB’s closure plan due to being uneconomic? One reason why it was made uneconomic was the bad NCB’s decision to make it uneconomic. They spent millions of pounds worth of untried machinery in the difficult steep seams under the Firth of Forth. There is approx 150 million tons of extractable coal there to be mined without the need for untested machinery. However, the manpower needed to re-open these mines would be difficult as I am in the last generation of recruits into the industry. Now would be the time to think about the rich chemicals and by products coal has. It is a complete waste of energy burning the stuff, there is as much by products in a ton of coal as there is in a barrel of oil. In a Socialist Scotland. It would be very wise to re invest in the coal mining industry. What a lot of people do not realise, in the UK, only 7% of the coal in the UK has been mined since the Monks dug coal 500 years ago.

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    • cas

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      Right behind you, Peter, at the time, but a hurricane of change is now blowing. Naomi Klein’s new book, ‘This Changes Everything Capitalism vs the Climate’, spells out for us in the bleakest of terms, the Truth about the disastrous consequences that await us all if we do not cease extracting and burning fossil fuels now. She didn’t say this to keep Scotland poor, but she does cite the case of Nuaru, in the Pacific Ocean, an island which was overmined with disastrous effects on the island’s population including an obesity epidemic, lack of fertile arable land and many road deaths. Then they became bankrupt! The planet needs to breathe! And heal.

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  • Dean

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    I’m a communist and also a member of the communist party of Great Britain and I’m for independence. We all have different opinions even us communists for independence. I mean some labour MSP’s are for the yes vote as well :p

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  • Matt

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    For many years I have been voting for SNP as a tactical vote. At heart I am socialist and not the pseudo brand “New Labour” represent.

    For me YES means escape from Tyranny, from Elitism, from injustice.

    Behind you all the way Scotland…. I dream of a republic…. :)

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    • Jon

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      I dream of a republic as well but tyrany elitism and injustice? It’s easy enough to ‘escape’ most of that by yourself no government will do it for you. You don’t need to box too clever to turn an underprivileged background to an advantage. Plus it gives a person something to brag about and the more impoverished the better. Honestly.

      Reply

  • Vincent

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    I was always an SNP voter but never agreed with many of their policies. Just read what the SSP’s goals are and I am fully behind them .I am now with the SSP!✊

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  • Clare

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    Agree with all your policies but not one party is BRAVE enough to impose rent control in the private sector. Would you continue to line the pockets of buy-to-let landlords with what is basically the subsidy of the Housing Allowance?

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    • cas

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      Absolutely, Clare- my rent is twice the average mortgage for the area!
      Landlords seem so reluctant to take on a tenant in receipt of Housing Benefit and yet the income from it, for them, is enormous Like, 2, 3, 4 times what a person on benefits gets to live on! This imbalance must be addressed, along with localized banking- Banking For the People, By the People.

      Reply

  • Alasdair

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    Housing is the major issue of our times and I will give my vote to whichever party understands that the cost of housing and the fact that our economy and banking system is all far too based around a housing bubble which is not good for the vast majority of the population.

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    • David

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      You’re right about housing being the major issue of our time.
      Perhaps if we referred to ‘homes’ rather than housing we might get more empathy.
      ‘What is it that everyone should have one of, before anyone has two’?

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  • Bill

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    I agree with nearly every policy but I get real feeling when I speak to SSP people that there is a lack of belief in the principle that we should all be doing what we can to support each other. There seems to be a concentration on making sure that people get benefits they are entitled to and nothing about what to do about those who are content to take benefits and do nothing. You might not like it but there are vast numbers of people who are content to take and not contribute – I know plenty of them. Perhaps they have had the soul torn out of them from the destruction of Scottish industry by successive WM governments but it shouldn’t be a choice to make. I don’t see how you can have a socialist society unless you have a policy for dealing with this – or is that approach likely to scare away some of your support.

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    • Miles

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      A Really good question and one that will act as a proverbial ice burg. A significant part of my interest is in poverty and deprivation. I think there have been a range of scientific social studies into this phenomenon and the party, now bigger, could possibly establish an advisory group to investigate this area on behalf of and representing the executive arm of the party.

      Reply

  • Miles

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    I am for ALL of the Party’s policies. I have been a member of the different UK Green Parties over the decades on and off. I have chosen to apply to join SSP as I believed there was an imbalance in the Party between the Urban and Rural, with rural issues, specifically over wind factories being thrown up all over Scotland to the financial benefits of big businesses, at the expense of the powers of local peoples’ wishes who had to then suffer living with them and all that they brought along. I believe in systems whereby the local ecology, environment, landscapes and people all support each other for the benefit of all. Whether rural or urban, local peoples’ voices need to be heard, respected and their wishes made reality. Not, kowtow to the belief in the fear of being abandoned by nationals and multinational corporations and not being able to live without them.

    Reply

  • Miles

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    How would one go about establishing a working party to review and put forward recommendations to the Executive and the AGM for possible amendment and adoptions? I am specifically interested in the clean, green energy section as there is so much more and some of what’s currently there is outdated.

    Reply

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