- Tackle the cost of living crisis by raising working-class incomes and cutting living costs.
- End poverty pay and precarious employment in Scotland.
- Fight fuel poverty.
- Deliver free public transport.
- Cut, cap, and control rent.
- Scrap the regressive, unfair Council Tax.
- Demand a No Cuts Budget across Scotland.
End Poverty Pay: Pay, Hours and Conditions We Can Live On
Living costs are running out of control – but working-class incomes have remained stagnant for years. Wages, social security, and pensions are not keeping pace with inflation.
In real terms, that is a pay cut for millions of workers. We need to end poverty pay in Scotland to fight the cost of living crisis.
The SSP demands pay rises for workers that at the very least compensate for years of wage stagnation – restorative pay rises that reflect the cost of living.
The SSP also campaigns for a higher minimum wage of two-thirds of the male median earnings, rising with inflation – for all workers over 16, without discriminatory age banding and without apprenticeship loopholes.
Zero hour contracts and other forms of precarious employment are a major cause of poverty pay in Scotland. We can’t afford to live on low hours and casualised employment. The SSP is fighting for 16-hour-per-week minimum contracts for every worker who wants one.
The SSP strongly opposes any and all attacks on pensions, and condemns the removal of the “triple lock”.
We need to end #PovertyPay to fight the #CostOfLivingCrisis.
Fight Fuel Poverty
The fuel poverty crisis is a cost of living crisis.
From 1 April 2022, our energy bills are rising by an average of £700 – a price hike that working-class people just can’t afford. As many as one in three households in Scotland already experience fuel poverty. At the same time, private energy companies made £750 in profit every second in 2021.
No one should have to choose between a warm meal and a warm home.
The SSP calls for an emergency programme to retrofit existing homes and public buildings – without cost to tenants. Retrofitting 2.62 million dwellings and 20,000 public buildings with insulation, draught-proofing, replacing old boilers with eco-friendly ones, and installing high-speed broadband nationwide will cut fuel poverty and emissions, improve living standards and health outcomes, and deliver a bounty of new, skilled jobs and apprenticeships.
Insulating and draught-proofing houses and public buildings, and replacing inefficient boilers, could cut energy use by 40% – cutting bills, emissions, and poverty in one, while creating new jobs and apprenticeships across Scotland.
Private energy barons hold a monopoly on the supply of energy in Scotland, including renewables. Big polluters like Shell and BP receive more in subsidies than they pay in taxes, despite soaring profits. Scotland is an energy-rich country; it can afford to end fuel poverty, or continue to subsidise private profiteering – but we can’t do both.
We need democratic public ownership of energy production and supply in Scotland. The SSP supports the creation of a National Energy Company to direct an energy policy that is for people, not for profit.
Demand action to bring down energy bills and end #FuelPoverty in Scotland.
Free Public Transport
We face catastrophic climate crises, rampant poverty, and growing inequality. We all rely on public transport in some form. That means we need a free public transport system fit for the 21st century.
Many working-class people have no access to a car – but we all need the ability to get around.
Privatisation and deregulation of public transport services have resulted in soaring fares, job losses, and cuts to essential services in local communities around the country. Public transport should be a public service, not a money-making machine for a handful of millionaire capitalist owners who make a packet out of the privatisation racket.
Needless competition between rival privatised bus companies creates traffic chaos. Train timetables are being slashed, and ticket offices shut. Fares are rising beyond people’s reach, leaving the poorest in terrible social isolation. Ferry services face chaos due to ageing ferries.
For over 20 years, the SSP has pioneered the fight for a vastly expanded, integrated, free public transport system – when every other political party opposed the idea. SSP MSPs introduced a free public transport Bill to Holyrood in 2006.
COP26 delegates were given the benefit of free public transport, while the public were left with rip-off fares and unreliable services. If free public transport is good enough for COP26, it’s good enough for all of us.
Free public transport fights poverty and pollution together by reducing car dependency and improving accessibility for everyone. Free public transport and expanded service provision bring communities together and tackle loneliness and isolation. It also brings improved access to job opportunities, public services, retail, sports, hospitality, and leisure – returning on the public investment by boosting our economy right when it needs it most.
#FreePublicTransport is good enough for #COP26, it’s good enough for us.
#FreePublicTransport will fight poverty, pollution, and isolation together.
Cap, Cut, and Control Rents
The Scottish Socialist Party demands the building of 100,000 new, environmentally friendly, council homes for social rent, and for restoring an adequate surplus of safe, suitable, and affordable social housing in all regions.
Multiple and for-profit homeownership strips away residential housing options and raises prices. The Scottish Socialist Party believes that a home is a human right – not an opportunity to profit.
Rent is rocketing across Scotland, but incomes are stagnant – or falling. But the SNP/Green coalition government has pushed rent controls back to 2025 – breaking their promise to Scotland’s tenants, leaving plenty of time for rents to climb and climb, and to water-down plans in favour of landlords.
We’ve had enough broken promises. We need to cut and cap rent at affordable levels through emergency intervention in the housing crisis – and we need rent controls NOW. The SSP will cap private rent at an affordable percentage of income.
Housing debt and arrears should be cancelled with no strings attached.
We need 100,000 new, affordable council homes and #RentControls NOW.
Scrap Council Tax
The Scottish Socialist Party will scrap and replace the unfair Council Tax.
The Council Tax puts an unfair, higher burden on lower earners whilst lightening the tax bills of the very richest in our society. It is the government’s gift to the already wealthy.
In 2022, the Scottish Government’s Council Tax freeze will end. In every part of Scotland, the predictions are for substantial hikes. With similar hikes in energy bills, rent, and shopping costs – and no change in wages – this year promises to heap substantial extra costs on working-class households.
In 2019, households in Scotland were facing a combined Council Tax debt of at least £6.9 million. As Council Tax and living costs rise again, so too will Council Tax debt. Council Tax debt should be written off.
The Scottish Socialist Party will replace the regressive Council Tax with the progressive Scottish Service Tax. The Scottish Service Tax is pegged to household incomes, not outdated property values. By linking tax bills to the ability to pay, we lift the burden from those worst hit by the Council Tax.
Demand a No Cuts Budget
The Scottish Socialist Party demands a No Cuts Budget across Scotland.
We know that Tory Westminster government has slashed Scotland’s budget. But Holyrood should not agree to pass on cuts to local authorities. Councillors should not agree to pass on cuts to communities and services.
Discredited austerity is a political choice, whether it be in Westminster, Holyrood, or local councils. Instead, we need organisation and mobilisation to defy all cuts and win back the stolen billions.
We can conservatively calculate that replacing the regressive Council Tax with the Scottish Service Tax will raise £4.1 billion. That’s an additional £1.7 billion raised for schools, jobs, and local services all whilst still lowering bills for the majority.
Scotland is being robbed by PFI. Audit Scotland have found that “the Scottish public sector will make payments worth over four times the capital value of the assets built (over £40 billion) with £27 billion still to be paid between now and 2047/48”.
That means taxpayers are paying the private sector far too much for new infrastructure developments – and we’re paying that bill in the form of spending cuts, job losses, and a cost of living crisis. We must renegotiate rip-off PFI contracts to free up billions to tackle the cost of living crisis.
We need redistributive, progressive systems of taxation in Scotland to stop runaway inequality and act on the cost of living crisis. The SSP demands a “Windfall Tax” on pandemic profiteers, as well as higher taxes on wealth and corporate profits.
Demand a #NoCutsBudget across Scotland!
Fight back against the cost of living crisis
Take action with the Scottish Socialist Party