Fairer taxes - invest in public services
Greens across the country are campaigning against the Tory-led UK Government's radical agenda of cuts to public services and their attacks on the fundamental principles of the welfare state.
Despite the Scottish Parliament having the power to take a different course, Labour and the SNP just squabbled about how to hand on the cuts, and the SNP even let Parliament's power to vary income tax rates lapse. The Greens are offering the only alternative to this ideological failure.
We believe the richest should start to pay their fair share, and that the existing powers of the Scottish Parliament to bring in a progressive taxation system should be used.
We'll introduce a Land Value Tax to replace Council Tax and the Business Rates, at rates that will see the poorest pay less and the richest pay more. It will also bring in new revenue from currently untaxed business assets, and raise significant additional funds to be spent on national priorities such as higher education and the low-carbon investment Scotland needs.
While most people agree that the UK's deficit needs to come down, there is no need to do it so quickly, or so deeply, or so unfairly. By taking this course the UK Government will make Britain a more unequal society, and will actually put at risk any prospect of economic recovery and low-carbon investment. Communities around the country will be paying the price for generations to come, unless we work together to put a stop to this vandalism now.
Above all, the cuts which directly target the poorest in society must be blocked. Where there are cuts and savings to be made they should be in scandalous projects like Trident, or in the motorway schemes all the other parties have backed at Holyrood. None of the other parties at Holyrood over the last four years set out any alternative to the cuts, and only the Greens are prepared to look at progressive alternatives to this ideological agenda.
It has been inspiring to see the citizen-led activism around the country, which has been overwhelmingly peaceful and constructive in the face of a violent and destructive Government agenda. A new generation of students in particular are learning the strength of their democratic political power, when they join together to expose the other parties on their hypocrisy and their broken promises.
It takes a political act of will to pay for public services collectively, and the generation of politicians just after the Second World War knew this. Facing a budget deficit every bit as daunting as today's, they built the foundations of the welfare state and handed on a legacy to be proud of. That legacy now needs to be defended. Greens believe we need to support public services like health care, free education and social security now more than ever, and that the richest individuals and companies should pay their fair share in taxes.
The Tory-led UK Government are instead pretending that their cuts are both progressive and economically essential. In fact the poorest in society are being made to pay the price for the failures of others, notably the bankers and the deregulating politicians who courted them during the boom years.
Cuts to Housing Benefit risk making yet more people homeless, while the Fawcett Society's research shows that 72% of the cost of the cuts will be borne by women. Education is being squeezed, and hikes in fees in England will affect Scotland too, not just because many Scots students have traditionally studied in England.
The economic consequences are also likely to be dire. David Blanchflower, former independent member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee has warned that the cuts will lead to "unemployment, followed by more unemployment". More vulnerable countries like Greece and Ireland have been forced to make rapid cuts and have seen yet more jobs lost as a result.
In this election, the Scottish Green Party will offer voters the only alternative to this destructive, right wing agenda.
If you'd like to get involved in any of our regional campaigns take a look at our get involved page for ideas on how you can help.