Scottish Socialist Party Policies

The challenges of the 21st century require radical action. Climate crisis, automation, inequality, the instability of capitalism, the eroding of democracy and the long-term consequences of Coronavirus mean we need real, systemic change.

Real change requires the leadership of the organised working class in communities, workplaces, and government – not the bosses or the billionaires.

The Scottish Socialist Party campaigns for a socialist transformation of Scotland’s economy through a Socialist Green New Deal based on a socialist recovery plan in an independent, socialist Scotland.

  • A Just Transition
    • Fight pollution and poverty together with a worker-led economic plan for democratic public ownership, green jobs, and an end to inequality. The only “Green New Deal” that can succeed is the one that improves conditions for the working class.
    • Move Scotland’s economic focus away from unsustainable capitalist growth measured by GDP, and plan a new, publicly-owned, democratic, needs-based economy where profits made in Scotland are redistributed to improve life quality.
    • Public ownership is essential to halt climate change. You cannot control what you don’t own. Put democratic public ownership of major industry, infrastructure, energy, land, transport, agriculture, aquaculture, and finance at the heart of an economy fit for the 21st century.
    • Major state intervention to create 350,000 new green jobs in Scotland – well-paid, secure, and with full Trade Union rights – through restoring local manufacturing and modernising infrastructure. Carry out the design and production of necessary equipment and technology in Scotland.
    • Transition all existing fossil fuel and arms workers to skilled jobs in sustainable infrastructure and renewable energy, without loss of income or pensions.
    • To keep Scotland’s skill base well equipped, incorporate environmental and ecological learning, in both STEM and Humanities, into the curriculum of Primary, Secondary, Further, and Higher education.
  • Worker’s Rights: End Poverty Pay and Precarious Jobs
    • Devolve employment law to Holyrood to end low pay, in-work poverty, precarious jobs, and attacks on workers.
    • A £12 minimum wage for all workers over 16 – equal pay for women and end age discrimination.
    • End the exploitative “gig economy”, phony apprenticeships, and bogus self-employment loopholes that undermine workers’ rights.
    • Guarantee contracts with a 16-hour minimum working week for every worker who wants one – abolish zero-hour contracts.
    • A four-day week on five days pay – a 35-hour maximum working week without loss of earnings.
    • Ensure full average wages for sick and self-isolating workers. No one should have to choose between their income and their health.
    • A legal ban on “Fire and Rehire” attacks on workers and conditions.
    • A minimum of 12 months parental leave, on full pay, without loss of rights.
    • A minimum of 6 weeks paid annual leave for all workers, plus public holidays (including defence of the May Day public holiday).
    • Full legal employment rights for all workers from day one of employment.
    • Abolish all fees for Employment Tribunal hearings.
  • Repeal the UK’s anti-Trade Union laws, which are the most repressive in Europe.
    • Devolve power over Trade Union-related laws to Holyrood.
    • Reinstate full, free collective bargaining in all sectors and workplaces, including on wages, conditions, training, equalities, and health and safety.
    • Enshrine the constitutional right to strike after a simple majority vote.
    • Abolish outdated rules for postal-only voting, and unjustified requirements to inform employers before workers are balloted.
    • Protect the legal right to freedom of association through joining and organising a Trade Union without fear of victimisation.
    • Protect the legal right to freedom of speech through going on strike – including the right to solidarity strikes. Remove the undemocratic ban on so-called “political strikes”.
    • Boards of management to have a majority made up of elected, accountable representatives of workplace Trade Unions.
    • Replace “Social Partnership” between Trade Unions and the bosses with fighting mass Unions that stand up for workers instead.
    • Guaranteed rights and facilities for Trade Union reps and officials to openly recruit for their Union in workplaces.
    • Guaranteed rights and facilities for elected Union reps to represent members during working hours.
    • Guarantee a Union presence beside every worker in contract negotiations.
    • Ensure that precarious, short-term, and other temporary workers have unimpeded access to a Trade Union without victimisation.
    • Worker and Trade Union control of workplace health and safety through elected Health and Safety stewards.
    • Ban blacklisting, and offer proper justice to the victims of blacklisting.
  • Infrastructure and the Environment
    • Create a publicly owned, publicly funded National Construction Company to build environmentally sustainable social housing and renew Scotland’s infrastructure without relying on rip-off PFI contracts.
    • In renewing the built environment, public housing, and national infrastructure, require construction to use local and sustainable sources for materials, and to ensure that energy efficiency is built into the design of buildings and appliances.
    • Oppose new airport runway expansions.
    • Form elected anti-pollution boards at national and local levels to monitor and enforce emission and pollution controls, with the power to impose penalties on businesses.
  • Housing: A Home is a Human Right
    • Build 100,000 new, environmentally sustainable, council homes for social rent per year until demand is met, and restore an adequate surplus of safe and suitable social housing in all regions.
    • Cap and cut rents to affordable levels through emergency intervention in the housing crisis.
    • Graduated rent discount set at the same level as the support that would have been available for tenants to buy their council homes under “Right to Buy”. After 25 years, tenants would pay zero rent until their tenancy is terminated or transferred to another member of the family
    • Extend the Scottish Secure Tenancy protections to private tenants, and pass stronger legislation that protects tenants of social landlords from eviction. Ensure additional protections for vulnerable and low-income households.
    • Cancel Local Authority housing debt with no strings attached.
    • Local authorities will be given additional powers to prevent the purchase of holiday and other secondary homes in regions where there is a housing shortage, as well as the power to levy additional taxes on secondary properties.
    • Tenants to have the automatic right to remain in their home, and not have it sold out from under them by landlords.
    • Create publicly-funded housing forums for local authorities, housing associations, and tenants, and strengthen support for tenant unions.
    • Compile and maintain a thorough register of property owners in Scotland, and bring private sector homes identified as being “below tolerable standard” into the public sector.
    • Clear, high standards on cleanliness, central heating, double-glazing, insulation, environmental sustainability, energy efficiency, and safe lighting – and real enforcement against rogue landlords.
    • An emergency action programme and funding to bring every home in Scotland up to standard.
    • 56% of homeless applicants for housing cite abuse, relationship breakdowns, or being ejected from their home as the reason for their application. A surplus of safe, suitable, quickly accessible social accommodation is needed in all regions.
  • Energy and Fuel Poverty
    • Create a National Energy Company to bring the full energy supply chain, including renewables, into democratic public ownership.
    • Put workers, communities and scientific experts on the board to grow our sustainable industry and end fuel poverty.
    • Replace every gas boiler in every home with clean energy alternatives, such as more efficient heat pumps, without cost to households.
  • The SSP is a long-time, pioneering advocate for free public transport for everybody: an initiative that will cut traffic, end transport poverty, and deliver more economic activity.
  • Bring public transport into democratic public ownership: including all busses, train services, railway infrastructure, underground rail, ferries, and trams.
  • Ensure that public transport is a service democratically accountable to the communities it serves, with democratic, elected boards of management involving workers, communities, passengers and representatives of local and national government.
  • Expand the availability of late-night services to ensure safer travel for everyone in Scotland.
  • Introduce publicly-owned municipal busses to every region in Scotland, restore regulation to ensure good services, and expand services to meet the needs of every community.
  • Instead of subsidising a new private franchise operator, bring ScotRail back into public management and under public accountability from 2022.
  • Making different branches of public transport cooperative, not competitive. Deliver a connected system that improves access, with a single ticket, multi-service system linking Scotland together, and incentivise more public transport use through free public transport, routes that fit community needs, and accessible services.
  • Fully support transport workers taking action over pay, jobs, and conditions.
  • Create long-term manufacturing jobs in Scotland by renewing and maintaining transport fleets to meet the highest environmental standard possible standard.
  • Abolish the Scottish Green Party’s ineffective, punitive, and anti-working class parking fees.
  • Ring-fence funds raised through parking meters and car parks to support public transport.
  • A mileage tax on Heavy Goods Vehicles to offset existing road maintenance budgets, freeing up tens of millions more for public transport investment.
  • 70% of rural Scotland is owned by just 1,125 landlords. Break up private, often anonymous, landlord monopolies and return the land to democratic, community control.
  • Increase biodiversity and carbon sequestration by ecologically restoring or protecting 35% of the land – with public funding for public jobs in land management to meet this target.
  • The Scottish Socialist Party opposes onshore hydraulic fracking in Scotland and supports its ban.
  • Bring landed estates and corporate farms into public ownership, to produce for local and national needs, not private export.
  • Make nationally-grown fruit and vegetables free for those who need it, without means-testing – including free school meals for all pupils. End food bank dependence and food poverty, and build a healthier Scotland.
  • The Scottish Socialist Party has always supported Scottish independence and self-determination worldwide. We are socialists, not nationalists, and campaign for an independent, socialist Scotland, a modern democratic republic
  • Support a referendum on Scottish independence, at a time of Scotland’s choice.
  • Abolish the Monarchy and other Feudal institutions, and leave the broken British system behind.
  • Enshrine the foundations of a modern nation in a Written Constitution for Scotland.
  • The SSP cooperates constructively with other supporters of independence, including other political parties and non-party campaign groups – but without sacrificing our distinct, socialist case for independence.
  • Withdraw an independent Scotland from NATO and remove Nuclear Weapons from its territory.
  • Scrap the SNP’s fatally flawed “Sustainable Growth Commission” plan, which would undemocratically tie us to Westminster, the Bank of England, and to NATO. Replace it with a radical, transformative plan for independence.
  • Independence requires the support of a majority of people in Scotland – and the majority of people in Scotland are the working class. To win independence, and to make it a success, we need a vision for change that mobilises and empowers the working class.
  • The only successful vision for independence is one that prioritises and improves the lives and prospects of working-class people, based on better housing, fair wages, universal public services, and pensions on par with the European average.
  • Independence must ensure that Scotland has the powers to take the necessary radical action to deal with the challenges of the 21st century. This means our own currency and democratic public ownership of key industries.
  • Scotland’s future relationship with the European Union, EFTA, and other institutions of the European Single Market can only be decided in a democratic, informed, participatory process after independence is complete.
  • We can’t leave our self-determination to overpaid lawyers and judges debating the Scotland Act. With a Tory majority government in Westminster opposed to the right to self-determination, forcing progress requires the collective, mass effort of the working class and working-class organisations, mobilised around a transformative, radical programme for change.
  • Devolve fiscal and tax-raising powers to Holyrood – and keep them there in independence. All taxes raised in Scotland should be spent in Scotland – that includes Income Tax; National Insurance Contributions; VAT; duties on alcohol, tobacco, and fuel; Corporation Tax; Capital Gains Tax; Road Tax; oil revenues; Air Passenger Duty, etc.
  • Deliver democratic public ownership of banks and finance.
  • A “Windfall Tax” on pandemic profiteers.
  • Scrap the regressive Council Tax and replace it with the Scottish Service Tax – a progressive income tax, with payment based on the ability to pay. Under these proposals, the majority will be substantially better off, and the public share of Scotland’s wealth will be greatly increased through taxing those who can most afford it.
  • End PFI robbery. Audit Scotland confirmed 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”. Renegotiate rip-off contracts to free up billions of pounds for jobs, services, care, and the NHS.
  • Scotland’s wealth comes from Scotland’s land – but 70% of rural Scotland is owned by just 1,125 landlords – the largest private landlord being multi-billionaire Anders Povlsen, who pays taxes in Denmark. Break up private, often anonymous, landlord monopolies and return land to community ownership to tackle wealth inequality at its material source.
  • Scrap Britain’s Nuclear Weapons and reduce armed forces spending to the necessary level for defence and emergency response. Use the saved billions to fund the NHS, a National Care Service, housing, and a Social Green New Deal – with secure, skilled jobs for Faslane workers, without loss of income.
  • Implement a Maximum Income at 10x the legal Minimum Wage.
  • Increase Capital Gains Tax to 40%.
  • Implement a Wealth Tax of 5% on households with a net worth over £1million.
  • Empower Local Authorities to levy a Land Value Tax on property worth over £1million.
  • A National Care Service
    • Scotland’s care needs are only going to continue to grow. We need a care service that is fit to meet those needs. We cannot afford to continue with a broken, for-profit system.
    • Build a publicly-owned, publicly-funded National Care Service which is free at the point of need.
    • Bring private care homes into public ownership, and end the private, for-profit provision of care.
    • End the stratified system where care and care quality is distributed on the basis of wealth; instead deliver care, without charge, on the basis of need – just like our NHS.
    • The public already pays for private care profits through public subsidies, personal fees and debt, tax loopholes, and offshore tax-havens. Private care firms move billions in profit offshore every year – redirect that money to help pay for a National Care Service, not private profiteering.
    • Support Trade Union demands for a £15 per hour minimum wage for care workers, including paid travel time and paid overnight shifts, with guaranteed minimum and maximum workings hours.
    • Ensure full average wages for sick/self-isolating workers to protect carers and service users, and to prevent another care home COVID catastrophe.
    • Introduce career-long training programmes and deliver real opportunities for continuous professional progression to reduce high staff turnover in care. Recognise in action that carers are highly skilled, essential workers who do invaluable work that must be valued properly.
    • Return democracy to local services by putting the design of a National Care Service and allocation of care priorities into the hands of communities, service users, and care workers at the most local level possible – not professional middlemen.
    • Care workers are the experts in the service they provide. Use the creation of a National Care Service to move more decision-making powers back into the hands of workers at the forefront of care provision.
  • Carers and Disabled People
    • Put carers, disabled people, and DPOs at the centre of identifying local care priorities, supported by a publicly-owned, publicly-funded National Care Service which delivers care free at the point of need.
    • Support unpaid carers with at minimum the equivalent of 40 paid hours per week the national minimum wage – which should be raised to £12 an hour.
    • Expand eligibility for financial support for carers to carers under 16, carers in full-time education, pension recipients, and carers in employment.
    • Ensure that every school in Scotland employs a young carers’ worker to offer practical support, advocacy, and wellbeing checks for young carers.
    • Ensure that carers have access to a minimum of 14 nights of respite a year, or the equivalent in hours at a time of their choice.
    • Deliver specialised, accessible support for carers seeking to reenter education and employment.
    • Safely reopen day centres, respite services, and other community-based support that have been closed since lockdown – and expand service provision to meet needs.
    • Welcome that Social Security Scotland “regard social security as a human right” and “are committed to ensuring that those who are entitled to Disability Assistance are able to access it whilst being treated with dignity, fairness and respect” from spring 2022.
  • Incorporate the principle of Universalism into public services and social security to cut costs, eliminate exclusion, and reduce stigma.
  • Use a Universal Basic Services model to deliver public services which are publicly funded, publicly owned, democratically run, and free at the point of need.
  • Stop benefit sanctions, and end the dehumanising treatment of social security applicants.
  • Emergency action to reduce household and personal debts, including writing off all Local Authority housing debt and Council Tax arrears.
  • Scrap the regressive Council Tax, and replace it with the progressive Scottish Service Tax – income tax scaled to the ability to pay.
  • Use a publicly owned, not-for-profit National Energy Company to provide cheaper, locally-sourced, and sustainable energy – end fuel poverty in Scotland.
  • End to the imposition of pre-payment meters on those who owe debts to gas and electricity companies, and refunds backdated by five years to households that have been forced to pay the higher charges associated with pre-payment meters.
  • Make nationally-grown fruit and vegetables free for those who need it, ending food bank dependence and food poverty, and building a healthier Scotland.
  • Make free, nutritious school meals – made with locally-produced ingredients – available to every pupil in Scotland, without means-testing.
  • Support the implementation of free, environmentally-friendly period products across Scotland.
  • Remove admission charges for gyms, swimming pools, and sports centres, and restore public access to well-maintained playing fields.
  • The National Health Service
    • The Coronavirus pandemic has been the greatest crisis faced by our NHS and healthcare workers. It is unlikely to be the last. We need a resilient, publicly-owned NHS fit for the 21st century.
    • Defend a National Health Service which is publicly owned, publicly funded, and free at the point of need. Oppose the privatisation of primary healthcare and support services.
    • Scotland’s NHS is being ripped off by PFI robbery – Labour mismanagement continued by the SNP. End PFI robbery: renegotiate rip-off contracts to free up billions of pounds for the NHS.
    • Oppose hospital closures and other service cuts where there is still a population requiring local service. Restore access to physical and mental healthcare in local areas, working closely with social services and a new National Care Service.
    • Continue to oppose prescription charges in Scotland.
    • Increase the level of direct employment of GPs, dentists, and other primary healthcare workers. Deliver universal optical care and dentistry and on the same terms as other forms of primary healthcare in Scotland.
    • Reverse SNP cuts to 6000 hospital beds since 2010: increase the number of NHS beds to allow a mean occupancy rate of 85% in general wards, and 75% in Intensive Care.
    • Support a restorative 15% pay rise for NHS workers.
    • Reverse the NHS crisis of understaffing, high staff turnover, and dangerous overwork with improved pay and conditions for frontline health workers.
    • Ensure student nurses are paid at least the new national minimum wage rate of £12 per hour – including travel time.
    • The future day-to-day running of the NHS will be supervised by elected health boards consisting of medical professionals, other healthcare workers, and local communities.
    • Implement a special charge on private healthcare providers to compensate the public for the public education and training of healthcare workers.
    • Bring the production of essential PPE back to Scotland through publicly-owned manufacturing, and ensure that we never face another PPE shortage in time of need.
    • Establish a publicly-owned pharmaceutical corporation, supplying low-cost generic medication to the NHS and to pharmacies, and working closely with Universities and research facilities.
  • Scotland’s Mental Health Crisis
    • Address Scotland’s mental health crisis at its material causes – precarious hand-to-mouth living, alienation, disenfranchisement, poverty, and insecure housing.
    • Fund an increase in the number of community psychiatric nurses in Scotland, expand the range of accessible services, and bring down appalling waiting times.
  • Scotland’s Drugs Crisis
    • Until drug classification is devolved, Holyrood and local authorities must use existing powers over health, policing, justice, and public services to intervene and save lives.
    • Drug abuse and drug-related deaths are health issues. Decriminalise drug possession and use: stop the deadly cycle of incarceration, addiction, alienation, crime, and self-harm.
    • Prevent drug deaths with informed, scientific, and empathetic strategies for harm reduction led by experts and those with lived experience.
    • Reduce the risk of overdose by creating space for a medically prescribed, cleaner product in a safe environment. Support safe use sites with access to clean needles, life-saving equipment, medical care, and free facilities to test for lethal contaminants.
    • Make emergency funding available for rehabilitation centres and effective follow-up care which is integrated with healthcare, housing provision, and job guarantees.
  • Higher and Further Education
    • The Scottish Socialist Party has always backed education workers and learners, at all levels of education. We know that education workers have faced real attacks on their pay, pensions, and job conditions – and that the Scottish Government isn’t listening.
    • Oppose the introduction of tuition fees in Scotland.
    • Insecure, short-term contracts for researchers and educators undermine education quality and attack academic freedom. Replace precarious, casualised employment with guaranteed minimum and maximum hour contracts for every worker who wants one.
    • Oppose any and all attempts to replace Further Education lecturers in “Fire and Rehire” attacks. A lecturer is a lecturer and should be paid a lecturer’s wage, with guaranteed adequate lesson preparation, marking time, and continual professional development.
    • Remove the automatic places for business sector representation on college boards, replacing them with representatives from worker’s unions, students, local and national government, and local communities.
    • Expand open, free public access to published research in Scotland.
  • Students
    • Reintroduce student grants to support working-class students.
    • Allow students to claim housing benefit; allow students who are carers to access financial support.
    • Replace unsuitable, expensive, and exploitative private student accommodation with quality, publicly-owned accommodation subject to capped and controlled rent.
    • End age discrimination against student workers with a £12 minimum wage for all workers over the age of 16.
  • Primary and Secondary Education, and the Attainment Gap
    • The attainment gap is the result of poverty and class inequality – we can only close it by tackling poverty in Scotland.
    • Abolish the charity status of private schools.
    • Tens of thousands of Scotland’s learners are also young carers. Care responsibilities should never be a barrier to a strong education.
    • To support learners and their families, we need quality pre-school care for babies and younger children, and free after-school care for all Primary and Secondary school pupils.
    • Publicly funded nursery places for all pre-school children, and funding for after-school, weekend, and holiday clubs in every region for school-age children.
    • Work towards a maximum class size of 20. Increase investment in new school infrastructure and hire more education workers to make this possible – a long-term solution to staffing shortages that does not rely on the precarious employment of supply teachers.
    • Broaden the criteria of assessment in schools to ensure attainment is not purely exam-based.
    • Nutritious free school meals for all Primary and Secondary pupils in Scotland, without means-testing.
    • Make free toothpaste, toothbrushes, and dental floss available to every school pupil.
  • Fighting Racism with Socialism
    • The SSP stands for the unity of all workers against racism, poverty, and the capitalist system of ruthless exploitation that spawns them. United working-class people can, have, and will again defeat racism.
    • Racism is not purely personal prejudice – it is structural, and the solutions are structural. Build a Scotland of working-class cooperation – not capitalist competition.
    • Scotland’s minority communities, particularly recent migrants and Gypsy, Roma & Traveller peoples, face barriers accessing essential public services such as healthcare, social care, housing, and education. Build a Scotland of quality, publicly-owned, universal public services to bring down barriers to access – and to ensure an inclusive, needs-based economy for people and not for private profit.
    • Support global calls for the prosecution of police officers involved in brutality; remove from positions of authority those identified as racists and far-right activists; demilitarise policing.
    • Support the campaign for justice for Sheku Bayoh and his family.
    • Tackle material inequalities and systemic racism through raising working-class income, lowering living costs, and developing universal access to public services like housing, care, transport, and the NHS.
    • Maintain Scotland’s radical tradition of international solidarity, and support the global revolt against racism.
  • LGBT+ Liberation, not Rainbow Capitalism
    • Guaranteed long-term funding for youth and community projects advocating for LGBT+ wellbeing, including extra steps to tackle rural LGBT+ isolation through funding outreach and support projects across Scotland.
    • Now that the UK has left the European Union, the government must explicitly enshrine continuing LGBT+ family pension rights into law, and ensure that there can be no legal rollback of these rights.
    • Support a ban on conversion “therapy” in Scotland.
    • LGBT+ young people are greatly overrepresented among the young homeless population, with discrimination being a significant factor in their being made homeless. Take immediate action to guarantee long-term and emergency short-term housing for everyone.
  • Safety, Survivors, and People at Risk of Abuse
    • Increased funding for agencies and organisations which provide refuge, helplines, and drop-in centres for people at risk of violence and abuse.
    • Decriminalise sex work, recognise that those who buy sex are abusers, and increase resources to protect sex workers and provide access to vital care and support services.
  • Migrants, Refugees, and Asylum Seekers
    • The Scottish Socialist Party fully opposes the UK Government’s “Nationality and Borders Bill”.
    • 63% of people want Scotland to be able to set its own immigration policy. It’s time Scotland had a conversation about what an independent immigration policy must look like – and how it can improve migrant life quality, not reduce people to a pure economic utility.
    • Increased funding for asylum seeker and refugee advocacy groups, legal aid, and community support – with fully-equipped specialist services for the unique circumstances of LGBT+ people seeking asylum.