Dundee SSP

Scottish Socialist Party branches from Dundee

Election Results

Posted by alangdundee on 8th May 2011

Thanks to everyone who came out to vote for us on Thursday. We haven’t met to discuss results so no analysis just the dry boring figures.

In the North East of Scotland 1115 people came out to vote for the SSP.

This broke down to
156 people in Dundee City West and
127 in Dundee City East

Posted in Election, Holyrood | No Comments »

Vote SSP on May the 5th

Posted by alangdundee on 26th April 2011

A lot of people in Dundee will have received a big pile of election leaflets through the door today. Sadly the SSP is quite low on finances and opted to only have a Royal Mail delivered leaflet in a small area of the country. SSP activists will be out in other areas, holding stalls and putting leaflets through doors ourselves.

We hold stalls and leaflet houses throughout the year, not just at election time. All done by activists and members of the parties. Unlike some which we won’t mention, we don’t hire non-members to go and leaflet for us…

On May the 5th Vote SSP on the regional list.

Posted in Election, Holyrood | No Comments »

SSP Party Political Broadcast

Posted by alangdundee on 21st April 2011

The SSP’s Party Political Broadcast for 2011 was shown on TV on Monday 18 April.

Posted in Election, Holyrood | No Comments »

SSP Manifesto 2011

Posted by alangdundee on 14th April 2011

The SSP have launched our manifesto for 2011.

You can download a copy as PDF from the main SSP site.

Hopefully this should cover most of the policy queries you may have. If you have a question about an SSP policy or position not included them leave a comment below or contact us.

Posted in Election, Holyrood | No Comments »

SSP announce candidates for election campaign

Posted by alangdundee on 4th April 2011

The Scottish Socialist Party have announce the full lists for all 8 regions of the Scottish Parliament. Everyone in Scotland will be given the chance to vote for the SSP on May 5th 2011.

The North East List is as follows

  1. Angela Gorrie
  2. Euan Benzie
  3. Alan Graham
  4. Soraya Kasim
  5. Helen Fortune

With your first vote you vote in your constituency – Dundee City West, Dundee City East etc. With your second you can select one party on the regional list. That’s where you can vote for Scottish Socialist Party – Fight the Cuts

To find out more about Angela Gorrie and all of the candidates for the other regions of Scotland go to the Scottish Socialist Party site.

Posted in Campaign, Election, Holyrood | No Comments »

Abolition of Prescription Charges

Posted by alangdundee on 4th April 2011

The SSP welcomes the eventual abolition of Prescription Charges. You may have read the headlines on April the 1st and thought it was a joke, but it has finally happened.

When the SSP were in Holyrood during the 2003-2007 term Colin Fox put forward a Bill to do just that. You can read his reaction here.

If only Labour hadn’t voted against it back then, we would have had free prescriptions for the past 4 years too.

If you want more of the same then putting more SSP MSPs into Holyrood will push these issues onto the political agenda. The other parties could ignore these obscene charges for 50 years but when shown the level of support for the abolition of charges, were slowly won over to support them too.

Posted in Campaign, Holyrood | No Comments »

SSP Candidates Announced

Posted by alangdundee on 16th November 2010

The SSP have announced our top of the list candidates for the Holyrood elections next year.

In the North East (Dundee’s region) Angela Gorrie is no1.

The Scottish Socialist Party has unveiled it’s lead candidates for the Scottish Parliament regional lists for the election to be held in May 2011.
The list includes two former MSPs, Colin Fox and Frances Curran, SSP councillor on West Dunbartonshire council, Jim Bollan, along with leading SSP activists.

The SSP’s decision to contest all Scottish Regional lists will mean that every voter in Scotland will have the opportunity to vote for Scotland’s socialist party, founded in 1999.

The Scottish Socialist Party will campaign for the rejection of public spending cuts, for an alternative policy putting people before profit and for the core policy of the party, an independent socialist Scotland.

SSP co-spokesperson Colin Fox said;

Working people are being hammered by the neo-liberal policies of the four establishment parties in Scotland.

The Scottish Socialist Party is the only political party in Scotland that stands up for working people and we will be campaigning for an independent socialist Scotland in the coming Scottish Parliament elections as we have done in every election since our founding in 1999.

You can find out more on the SSP site

Posted in Election, Holyrood | No Comments »

Scrap the Council Tax

Posted by alangdundee on 17th February 2009

Unlike the SNP and Lib Dems the Scottish Socialist Party say we are against the Council Tax and do something about it. We launched two bills in Holyrood to scrap the unfair tax.

More details on our proposals to scrap the council tax are here

If you have the inclination the full paper explaining our proposed replacement is here

Reprinted below is an article from 2003 giving a brief explanation of the proposed replacement. If you want to express your anger at the Lib Dem and SNP u-turn over scrapping the despised tax you have the opportunity to vote SSP on March the 12th in Maryfield in Dundee.

Scrap the unfair Council Tax

This week the Scottish Socialist Party launched its campaign for the 2003 Scottish Parliament elections, with the fight to scrap the cruelly unfair Council Tax at the heart of its manifesto.

Countless numbers of ordinary Scots get into huge debts every year as they struggle to pay enormous Council Tax bills. Here Alan McCombes looks at how the SSP‘s proposed new Scottish Service Tax would shift the burden of local taxation onto the shoulders of the rich rather than Scotland’s lowest paid workers.

Why the Council Tax is unfair

John and Anne live in a modest semi-detached home in Glasgow with their three young children.

Anne stays at home to look after their three-month-old son. John works as a porter in a local hospital where he is paid £5 an hour.

John has to work for six weeks to pay his annual Council Tax bill of £1,141.

Jack and Bridget live in a detached home with their two children. Bridget is a high-flying council executive earning £90,000 a year. Jack is the First Minister of the Scottish Parliament with a salary of £118,000 a year.

Jack has to work five days to pay his Council Tax bill of £1,545.

Then there is Ian who lives in a mansion in Aberdeenshire. Ian – or Sir Ian as he is now known – was Scotland’s top earner last year, raking in £600 million in salary, bonuses and stock market wheeling and dealing.

Ian has to work for 50 seconds to pay his Council Tax bill of £1,838.

The Council Tax is a blatantly unfair Tory tax, which reinforces Scotland’s grotesque divide between rich and poor.

It was concocted by the last Tory government as a fallback for the hated Poll Tax, which was destroyed by people power in the early 1990s.

It was like mugging an old woman, then giving her back a few coins for her bus fare home. Under the Council Tax, the maximum differential is three to one.

Someone living in a mansion in Pollokshields or Murrayfield will pay just three times more than someone living in a rundown flat in Possil or Craigmillar.

Beaufort Castle near Inverness is one of the most lavish private homes in Europe. Set in 180 acres of beautiful countryside, the 24-bedroom baronial castle is stuffed full of priceless paintings, ornate furniture and exquisite tapestries.

The castle used to be the family seat of one of Scotland’s most powerful clans, the Frasers. Now it is owned by Scotland’s richest woman, Ann Gloag, whose personal wealth runs to hundreds of millions of pounds.

In 1995, Ann Gloag bought Beaufort for £1.5 million. Today, it’s valued at £3 million.

Ann Gloag’s total Council Tax bill is £1,878.

It’s hard to imagine a more startling contrast between Beaufort Castle and the Scaraway flats in Glasgow. Here hundreds of families are packed into a few tower blocks.

Helena Duffy lives in the flats with her teenage daughter, who is a student. Helena earns £170 a week for 45 weeks as an ancillary worker in Stobhill Hospital. For her two-bedroom flat, 14 floors up, Helena pays £761 a year in Council Tax.

Ann Gloag’s home is worth 150 times more than Helena Duffy’s home. Ann Gloag earns 100 times more than Helena Duffy. Yet Ann Gloag pays just two and a half times more in Council Tax.

As well as discriminating directly against the poor, the Council Tax also discriminates against people who live in the poorest towns and cities.

For example, Council Tax for a Band D property in Glasgow is £1,141. In prosperous Wandsworth Council in London, Council Tax for a Band D property is just £402.

That means that a Glasgow family living in identical accommodation are forced to pay almost £15 a week more.

Even within Scotland, there are variations. People in the poorest urban areas such as Glasgow, Dundee, Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire can pay hundreds of pounds a year more than those living in similar properties in more prosperous rural areas.

These variations lead to some extraordinary absurdities. For example, even though the Council Tax is supposed to be based on property values, some three-bedroom semi-detached homes in Glasgow are liable for higher Council Tax than the 100 apartment Balmoral Castle, set in 50,000 acres of prime land.

A radical alternative

The Scottish Socialist Party has launched a radical new alternative to the Council Tax.

The Scottish Service tax developed by Paisley University economists, Geoff Whittam and Mike Danson would be based on income.

It would redistribute wealth from high income households to low and average income households.

The Scottish Service Tax would be set at a uniform rate across Scotland, with the revenues allocated to local councils on the basis of need.

Over 77 per cent of Scottish homes would be better off. Many low income households would stand to save between £20 and £30 a week from the change.

At the other end of the scale, the wealthiest 16 per cent of households would pay more.

Many of these households have benefited from a cash windfall totalling tens of thousands per household since the abolition of the old rates system.

The bill for that windfall was picked up by low paid workers.

There are a a small number of households – around 7 per cent – who would neither gain nor lose from the Scottish Service Tax.

There are six compelling arguments for replacing the Council Tax with the Scottish Service Tax.

  • It would redistribute wealth and income by shifting tens of millions of pounds from the rich to the poor.
  • It would automatically exempt the lowest income households without a degrading and complicated means test.
  • It would generate some extra, desperately needed cash to improve local services.
  • It would be uniform throughout Scotland, which means that people who earn the same would pay the same, irrespective of where they live.
  • It would be easy to collect and administer, in contrast to the bureaucratic minefield of the Council Tax.
  • It is based on income rather than property, which means it does not discriminate against larger families.

How the Scottish Service Tax would work

The Scottish Service Tax would be levied on individuals according to their income. Each individual in the household would be assessed.

There would be five ascending rates of SST based on income.

  • Rate 1) Nil. All income under £10,000 is exempt from Scottish Service Tax.
  • Rate 2) 4.5 per cent. All income between £10,000 and £30,000 will be taxed at a rate of 4.5 per cent.
  • Rate 3) 15 per cent. All income between £;30,000 and £50,000 will be taxed at a rate of 15 per cent.
  • Rate 4) l8 per cent. All income between £50,000 and £90,000 will be taxed at a rate of 18 per cent.
  • Rate 5) 20 per cent. All income above £90,000 will be taxed at a rate of 20 per cent.

To calculate your – or anyone else’s – Scottish Service Tax:

  • Step 1: deduct the first £10,000 of income. (If you earn below £10,000 you will be automatically exempt without having to deal with complicated red tape or form filling.) If you are on £10,000 you will pay NIL.
  • Step 2: divide all additional income from £10,000 to £30,000 by 100 and multiply by 4.5. Thus, if you are on £15,000 you will pay £225 (4.5 per cent of £5,000 = £225). If you are on £30,000 you will pay £900.
  • Step 3: divide all further income from £30,000 to £50,000 by 100 then multiply by 15. Add on £900, the amount you will pay up to £30,000. Thus, if you are on £50,000 you will pay £3,900 (£900 plus 15 per cent of £20,000).
  • Step 4: divide all income from £50,000 to £90,000 by 100 then multiply by 18. Add on £3,900, the amount you pay up to £50,000. Thus, if you are on £90,000 you will pay £11,100 (£3,900 plus 18 per cent of £40,000).
  • Step 5: divide all income over £90,000 by 100 then multiply by 20. Add on £11,100, the amount you pay up to £90,000. Thus, if you are on £120,000 you will pay £17,100 (£11,100 plus 20 per cent of £30,000).

Scottish Service Tax as a proportion of total income

Percentage of income paid in Service Tax within each income range. (The figures are an average within each range. Those at the lower end of each range will pay less; those at the higher end will pay more; those in the middle will pay the figure cited.)

  • Under £10,000: 0.0%
  • £10,000-£15,000: 0.9%
  • £15,000-£20,000: 1.9%
  • £20,000-£30,000: 2.6%
  • £30,000-£40,000: 4.4%
  • £40,000-£45,000: 6.6%
  • £45,000-£50,000: 7.2%
  • £50,000-£70,000: 9.2%
  • £70,000-£90,000: 11.8%
  • Over £90,000: 16.1%

Winners and losers

Those who would gain:

Laurie, a self-employed actor, lives with her teenage son in a Band C tenement property in Edinburgh. Last year, she earned just under £10,000. Her Council Tax bill, including a 25 per cent single person’s discount is £667.50. Under the Scottish Service Tax she would pay NOTHING.
Saving: £55 a month.

Sarah and Ken live in an owner-occupied Band E property in Glasgow. Sarah earns £15,000 and Ken earns £17,000. Their Council Tax bill is £1,395. Under the Scottish Service Tax they would pay £540.
Saving: £71 a month.

Wullie is a call centre worker in Glasgow who earns £11,000 a year. His partner Jackie earns £8,000 a year. They live in a Band B flat and currently pay £887 a year in Council Tax. Under the Scottish Service Tax, they would pay £45.
Saving: £70 a month.

Dave is a firefighter in Dundee who lives in a Band D property with his partner Angela and their three children. Dave earns £21,500 and the household Council Tax bill is £1,079. Under the Scottish Service Tax they would pay £517.50.
Saving: £47 a month.

Those who would lose:

John and Fiona live in a Band G property in the Highlands. John is a GP who earns £62,000. Fiona is a part-time teacher who earns £13,000 a year. Their Council Tax bill is £1,565. Under the Scottish Service Tax they would pay £6,195.
Loss: £386 a month.

Nicola is a high-flying lawyer who lives on her own in a Band H property in Edinburgh. Last year she earned £143,000. Her Council Tax bill, including single person’s discount came to £1,500. Under the Scottish Service Tax she would pay £21,700. Loss: £1,683 a month.

Frederick is one of Scotland highest paid chief executives, earning £1,200,000 last year. He lives in a Band H property in Edinburgh with his partner and their children. Their current Council Tax bill is £2,002. Under the Scottish Service Tax they would pay £233,100 a year.
Loss: £19,258 a month.

Posted in Accountability, Alan McCombes, Campaign, Council Tax, Public Services | 1 Comment »

Fighting Back Against Redundancies

Posted by alangdundee on 10th February 2009

By Richie Venton, SSP national workplace organiser

Hardly a day passes without new announcements of devastating job losses, sometimes outright company closures, at levels not seen since at least the 1980 recession.

Workers’ lives are being made misery after years of being told by those in charge of the boardrooms and the Labour Cabinet that all was for the best in the best of all possible systems.
Household names like Woolworths has shut up shop with 27,000 redundancies – on bare minimum state redundancy packages of a few hundred pounds.

MFI, Adams, Arran Aromatics, Findus Foods … the food and retail sector is in meltdown, with forecasts of one in ten shops being empty by the end of the year.

That spells disaster for tens of thousands eking out a living on wages mere pennies above the minimum wage.

Bankers – and bank workers

The finance sector has been bludgeoned by the chaos caused by irresponsible, profit-crazed bankers, who made incomprehensible fortunes by gambling on the capitalist markets. The government’s bailout of the bankers has prevented complete collapse, but has not eased up credit nor boosted the spending power of the working and middle classes.

So now taxpayers’ money is to be raided further for a second, even bigger bailout. But this does little to protect finance workers’ jobs; 47,000 have already been lost, with another 10,000 redundancies expected in the next three months.

A familiar scene over the years when companies go into administration or liquidation is the intervention of financial services giant KPMG. Now this outfit is ‘offering’ its 11,000 staff the glorious ‘choice’ of three months ‘sabbatical’ on 30 per cent pay, or a 4-day week, with accompanying pay cuts.

As the bottom falls out of the housing market, construction workers face mass layoffs. We have the obscene contradiction of a Scottish building worker joining the ranks of the homeless on the eve of Christmas because he lost his job and couldn’t keep up the mortgage!

Car industry crisis

Another major sector facing the worst crisis in at least 30 years is the car industry. With a slump in sales and production, car workers are made to pay the price through a cocktail of pay cuts and job losses.

Honda has just extended its two-month shutdown by a further two months: the Swindon plant won’t re-open for production until June! The 4,200 workers in the factory are to survive on 50 per cent wages for those four months.

In Sunderland, Nissan is chopping 1,200 of its 5,000 workforce. The same outfit recently got £6.2m of government funding for production of a new model; they have shifted production of the Micra to slave-labour India.

Manufacturing industry is in freefall. Factory output collapsed at an annual rate of 22 per cent in November. And there is little prospect of rapid recovery. For instance, the collapse over 2008 in the value of the pound against the Euro (down 30%) and the US$ (down 27%) will not on this occasion lead to an export-led recovery in the UK, because recession is blighting the USA, Japan and the whole of Europe.

Public sector slaughter

Right now the private sector is in the front line of job losses. But on top of the tens of thousands of jobs already lost in the public sector in recent years, a devastating new round of Thatcher-like cuts confront the NHS, local authorities and civil service in the next year or so. As the Scotland on Sunday recently reported:

UK Ministers have already warned that the tax cuts and fiscal stimulus plans being put into place to offset the worst of the downturn will have to be paid for – and soon. The pain will begin, say many, at the end of the next financial year, in April 2010.

SNP Ministers fear that as the Treasury starts to rein in spending, its budget will drop by £500m a year. Scotland’s NHS and councils are heading for a repeat of the 1980s cuts enforced by Thatcher.

Leadership needed

In the face of these devastating blows to entire communities, cities and regions, one of the most disappointing features is the lack of decisive, coordinated calls for action from the leadership of the trade union movement – through the likes of the TUC and STUC.

It is hardly surprising that many of the workers facing the scrap heap are initially shocked and stunned, rather than confident of taking action to save their jobs and livelihoods. But to change that and turn shock into anger and action requires leadership.

Too many of the union leaders are like rabbits mesmerised by the headlights of a lorry bearing down on them. Too often they merely echo the employers’ fatalistic words about the global crisis, without offering any radical alternative that would save and create jobs. In the case of a regional official of UNITE who organises the Nissan car workers facing 1,200 job losses, he stated “One firm can’t ask for a bailout; every firm would want one”!

Instead of portraying themselves as powerless in the teeth of the capitalist crisis, union leaders need to rally their members with events and arguments that give individual groups of workers some confidence that they are not on their own, that there is a point in fighting back.

Union rallies

In 1980, within months of Maggie Thatcher’s axe-wielding government being elected, the unions and Labour Party mobilised some of the biggest demos in the UK’s modern history, against unemployment. Hundreds of thousands marched, and this gave a boost to the fighting spirits of individual workforces facing mass redundancies.

As a minimum first step, the STUC, TUC and national unions should call national demos and rallies against unemployment; in defence of jobs; for a 35 hour week without loss of pay to create jobs; and for an increased minimum wage.

The combination of big united rallies, and fighting policies that point to a different alternative, would begin to turn the tide against the working class being made to pay for the capitalists’ crisis.

It would give courage to workers to use every means possible to save their jobs for future generations of workers – including workplace occupations to combat asset-stripping by bosses who often shift production to slave labour economies abroad – after getting £millions in grants off the government to set up shop in the first place.

Socialist alternatives

Socialist measures are not a luxury for May Day speeches; they are an indispensable weapon that should be wielded by the unions to mobilise their millions of members and their communities, and to answer people’s widespread fear that there is no alternative to mass redundancies.

For example, there is a drastic need for public sector house-building and renovation – and for universal home insulation to cut fuel bills and help combat climate chaos. Tens of thousands of jobs could thus be created, if the governments of Westminster or Holyrood had the political will. To carry out such a plan of public sector housing, the unions should argue for public ownership and democratic control of the construction industry.

If there is a glut in the car market that causes shutdowns and lay-offs, the unions need to fight for socially useful alternative production. For example, the developing world needs agricultural machinery that car plants could build. Closer to home, a vastly expanded free public transport system would create tens of thousands of transport workers’ jobs and cut poverty in the communities, as well as helping the environment. But it would also require building fleets of buses, trams, ferries and trains – a source of jobs for many facing a shaky future right now.

The bankers have been bailed out to save their skins – and those of their pals in the wider system. So the unions rightly call for investment to shore up the car industry. But why not call for public ownership and democratic control, instead of for subsidies to the bosses’ profits and debts?

The unions need to call public rallies that rouse the confidence of workers to fight back, but equally they need to expound measures that go beyond the straitjacket of capitalist production for profit. Public ownership of the banks, big retailers, energy, oil, transport, construction and manufacturing would be a means to plan the production of goods and services for public need.

Struggle – or starve!

Scotland faces an exponential growth of unemployment, with the Centre for Economic and Business Research predicting an 88 per cent rise in the numbers unemployed this year – from 121,000 to 227,000.

The Scottish economy is plunging towards its worst contraction since 1931. The rich elite who rule and ruin our lives are determined to make the working class pay for the crisis, driving us back to the 1930s if needs be.

The time is rotten-ripe for the unions and socialists to champion a different future, where work is shared out under a shorter working week, but without loss of pay; where the assets of companies that have been built up through generations of workers’ labour and taxpayers’ subsidies are taken into public ownership – but with democratic control.

A future where real jobs and training are restored, with new environmentally-friendly manufacturing a part of the answer. A socialist future where democratic needs and wishes are paramount, instead of millions being tossed in the dustbin for the protection of profits.

Posted in Economy, Public Services, Richie Venton, Scotland, Trade Unions | No Comments »

 

Promoted by Kevin McVey on behalf of the Scottish Socialist Party, Suite 370, 4th Floor Central Chambers 93 Hope St, Glasgow G2 6LD.