Scotland’s Wealth: Fund Real Change

The Working Class Creates the Wealth, not the Billionaires

  • Scrap Council Tax – introduce the progressive Scottish Service Tax
  • End PFI private robbery of public funding
  • Return powers to local authorities and local communities
  • No to billionaires, no to tax havens
  • Boost revenue by strengthening income and job security
  • Defy austerity and cuts

Workers and labour create the wealth of society, not shareholders, billionaires, or capitalists. But Scotland’s wealth is not under the control of those who create it. To fund real change, we need to change how Scotland’s wealth is distributed – and build a needs-based economy as the basis for future prosperity.

The Scottish Service Tax – Scrap Council Tax

The Council Tax is the government’s giveaway to the superwealthy. Lower-income households pay a higher proportion of their income than the wealthiest – whose share of Scotland’s wealth has grown while their Council Tax stays frozen. We need a progressive system of taxation in Scotland.

The SNP have been breaking their promise to scrap Council Tax since 2007. Despite talking tough on scrapping Council Tax, the Scottish Greens voted for a budget that led to Council Tax hikes across Scotland – even though Citizens Advice Scotland say Council Tax debt is already the “number one debt issue” they see.

We’ve had enough broken promises. It’s beyond time to scrap the Council Tax, and introduce the Scottish Service Tax.

The Scottish Service Tax is a progressive tax scaled to income – payment based on the ability to pay. Under these proposals, the majority will be substantially better off or no worse off, and the public share of Scotland’s wealth will be greatly increased through taxing those who can best afford it: making sure we can fund real change.

End PFI Robbery

In January 2020, Audit Scotland confirmed that Scotland is being ripped off by PFI robbery – Labour mismanagement continued by the SNP. They found that for the £9 billion worth of public infrastructure built through PFI contracts, “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”.

“The Scottish Government accepts that using private finance to pay for public buildings is more expensive than other forms of funding” – but it is still strongarming local authorities into schemes that rip off taxpayers, plunder public funds, and lead to cuts in public services.

Extended delays in opening Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Children and Young People are a failure of the relationship between public services and PFI private profiteering – and the public is paying millions of pounds a month for a hospital closed to patients in the middle of a global pandemic.

The Coronavirus crisis has plunged us into a serious economic emergency. The Scottish government has a responsibility to renegotiate PFI deals, and free up billions of pounds of Scotland’s wealth to fund a National Care Service, 100,000 new Council homes per year, equip the NHS, and raise public sector pay.

Restoring Local Control of Local Needs

Scotland is one of the most centralised countries in Europe. Funding and powers are being taken away from local authorities by Holyrood, and given to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats instead.

More and more local services are constrained by targets set in Edinburgh – putting political spin before local needs. By keeping more local wealth in local authorities, communities have the power to meet local needs – without loss of funding.

To help fund real change for tenants and real change in housing, local authorities will have the power to raise special taxes on second homes – funding the construction of 20,000 new council homes in rural communities.

Scotland’s wealth is based on Scotland’s land. By breaking up vast private estates and corporate farms, local communities will take land and its productive value back into public ownership and democratic control – providing the basis of well-funded local prosperity, needs-based sustainability, and a Socialist Green New Deal.

To restore democratic control of local needs we’re winning back more funding powers for local authorities and local communities, and to keep local wealth under local control: empowering every town in Scotland to benefit from Scotland’s wealth and fund real change.

Wealth Inequality

Scotland’s annual “rich list” is a slap in the face to millions of working-class people struggling against poverty pay and austerity. Scotland now has twelve billionaires – who are getting richer, while your share of the wealth keeps falling because of low pay, insecure jobs, and cuts.

We don’t need billionaires, and nobody needs to be a billionaire. We can’t fund real change while using Scotland’s wealth to prop up a system of billionaires.

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. By breaking up private, often anonymous, landlord monopolies and returning land to community ownership, we’re tackling wealth inequality at its material source.

The UK government and right-wing media are obsessed with benefit fraud witch hunts, but many more orders of billions are lost to corporate tax dodging every year. If Westminster doesn’t want to take responsibility for stopping corporate tax dodging, that power should be returned to Scotland.

Many of Scotland’s vital industries and resources, such as care, transport, and housing, are owned by private firms through a secretive network of tax havens. By restoring public ownership, we’re going to stop private profiteers from robbing Scotland’s wealth.

Defy Austerity: Raise Wages, Lower Living Costs

Austerity is written in Westminster, but the Scottish government passes cuts on to local authorities, and councillors pass them on to communities. Representatives aren’t elected to pass on cuts, but to stand up for the people they represent.

Austerity has dispossessed the working class of billions, which are given to the superwealthy through tax breaks, privatisation, and deregulation.

The Tories are planning the biggest attack on pay, conditions, and public services yet – forcing the working class to pay the bill for Coronavirus. The Scottish Parliament, local authorities, community groups, and Trade Unions have a responsibility to work together to refuse to pass on cuts.

Instead, we’ll raise Scotland’s public tax revenue by boosting economic activity. Improving wages and job security for workers, using public ownership in transport, housing and care to bring down living costs, and rebuilding the economy with a Socialist Green New Deal will restore personal and public finance, and bring Scotland’s wealth back into democratic control.

We Need You to Support Real Change

We don’t have or want billionaire backers and big corporate donors: we only seek our support from Scottish Socialist Party members and the generosity of working-class communities. We need you to support real change.

Scottish Socialist Party members are card-carrying ambassadors for the working-class movement, and the most important resource we could ever have. Comradeship is the heart of the socialist movement.

Come rally; support real change today.