Election 2016

Holyrood 2016: Rise launches election manifesto

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Media captionFormer SSP MSP Colin Fox helped launch the RISE manifesto in Glasgow

Rise has unveiled its manifesto for the Holyrood election, with the left-wing alliance saying it will offer a "comprehensive prospectus for change".

The manifesto issues a "challenge" to the other pro-independence parties by calling for a second referendum within the next five years.

It also proposes a "living income" for carers, and a higher rate of income tax for the wealthiest 1%.

Rise is fielding 40 candidates across the eight electoral regions.

Among them will be former MSP Jean Urquhart, who left the SNP over its stance on Nato, former Scottish Socialist Party MSP Colin Fox, and Cat Boyd, who rose to prominence during the independence referendum campaign.

Rise - which grew from the wider "Yes" movement during the independence referendum - said a key to its election campaign would be its pledge to hold another referendum within the lifespan of the next parliament, with or without Westminster's consent.

Second referendum

It has claimed the SNP is being "deeply cautious" on independence, and that its first major act at Holyrood would be to table a resolution asserting the right of the Scottish Parliament to "call for and achieve a second referendum on independence, at the time of its choosing, during the lifetime of this parliament."

During the launch event at the Glasgow Science Centre, Mr Fox criticised the SNP's "managerial" approach to government, saying the party had a "conservative vision", accusing them of "talking left and acting right".

He said independence was the "elephant in the room" of the Holyrood campaign, and said "we need a mandate to force Westminster's hand" into allowing a second referendum.

Ms Urquhart also attacked the "cynical" SNP and hit out at the Scottish Greens, saying they are "not motivated by independence" despite backing a Yes vote in the 2014 referendum.

Image caption Mr Shafi said Rise was planning a "huge campaign" across Scotland in the run-up to May's election

Rise would also replace the Council Tax with a Scottish Service Tax which would be based on individual incomes, as well introducing a whisky tax which it believes would raise £1bn a year - although alcohol duty is currently reserved to Westminster.

Among the manifesto's other key pledges is a living income of £10,399 for Scotland's 170,000 carers, which Rise has estimated would cost £1.7bn a year.

This would be paid for by a combination of tax changes, including increasing the income tax rate for those earning more than £150,000 from 45% to 60%, and introducing a new 45p rate for people earning between £50,000 and £150,000.

When asked how this meshed with calls for a maximum wage of £100,000 per year, national organiser Jonathon Shafi said these were "campaigning policies".

'Tory cuts'

Rise describes itself as being "100% anti-austerity", and has pledged to campaign alongside trade unions, workers and communities to "resist Tory cuts at every level", and to demand that councillors and MSPs "refuse to implement a single penny of Westminster's cuts".

It wants to see a minimum salary of £20,000, with a £10 per hour minimum wage for all public sector workers, to increase in line with inflation, alongside the £100,000 wage cap.

Image caption The party is pressing for a second independence referendum within the term of the next parliament

The party has proposed allowing communities to purchase land regardless of the landlord's wishes, wants to abolish Police Scotland and replace it with police forces under local community control, and has called for the Dungavel immigration detention facility to be closed down.

Rise also wants a "phased" introduction of free public transport across Scotland, and claims this could actually raise rather than cost money by reducing congestion, accidents and health and pollution costs while "increasing the spending power of millions of workers".

Mr Shafi said his party was planning a "huge" campaign in the run-up to May's vote, which has been gathering momentum in recent weeks.

He said: "Our first ever election broadcast aired nationally on Thursday evening and was very well received.

"We are preparing a mailshot of over one million leaflets to be delivered to homes across the country. And our candidate in the West of Scotland has just been endorsed by the RMT, which confirms our growing support in the labour movement.

"We're proud of the provocative and politically-urgent campaign we have run so far. Tuesday's launch will represent another milestone for us."