Another round of GERS ping-pong

by Colin Fox

Claim and counter claim around the GERS figures entirely miss the point that it is the policies followed in Edinburgh and London which produce them – they tell us little about the prospects for an independent Scotland with working class people at the driving seat.

A glaring example of this is the North Sea – where both the British and Scottish governments support our oil being exploited by private multinationals propped up by tax handouts.

This contrasts with independent Norway which kept its oil in public ownership and – despite the same price slump as faces Scotland – still takes substantial revenue from the companies extracting it.

Despite having the third highest revenue raising figures in the UK, Scotland’s working people continue to face major challenges on jobs, housing, wages and living standards today under the so called ‘pooling and sharing‘ United Kingdom.

These include:

  • Prices rising faster than pay – imposing cuts in living standards.
  • Exploitative rents from private landlords and 150,00 people long housing queue for a council or social home.
  • Thousands in insecure work, low pay and zero hours contracts.
  • Young people facing huge student debts offered only low paid work.
  • A desperate need for high quality dignified care for the elderly.
[x_pullquote type=”right”]To convince working people that independence is a better way, action is needed now.[/x_pullquote]We need the full powers of independence to change Scotland into a just country which puts the needs of people before that of a tax-dodging wealthy elite.

But it also needs action today, both to meet the urgent problems we face and to concretely point the way to how the powers of full independence can open the way to real change.

Today’s Scotland is a product of UK unionist policies. To convince working people that independence is a better way action is needed now:

  • The Scottish Government and local authorities should declare for a £10 an hour wage for all their workers now.
  • Enact a massive programme of council house building to meet the need for rented high-quality homes. This would provide thousands of skilled jobs and apprenticeships and boost the economy.
  • End zero hours contracts, with a guarantee of a minimum 16 hours a week to all who want it.

Action is needed now – not another round of London vs Edinburgh ping-pong.

Colin Fox is the joint national spokesperson of the Scottish Socialist Party.