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 five 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 benefits, 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-inflation 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 staffing 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 £10 an hour minimum wage for all education workers with either holiday pay or the entitlement to claim benefits 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 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, 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 finance 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 five 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 to 5 million 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 the 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.

Comments 1

  1. Am really impressed y the policies of SSP, It’s really a socialist party per se,Am the President of a New Party in Kenya called Socialist Party of Kenya derived from the same principles and vision of SSP,we are also Marxist I our ideology.

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