Scottish election: Scottish Socialists launch manifesto

image captionThe SSP claim to be the real party of the left in Scotland

The Scottish Socialist Party has launched its 2011 Holyrood election manifesto, with a promise to oppose cuts and tax the rich.

National spokesman Colin Fox also announced plans to raise £1.5bn a year by replacing council tax with a graduated income tax.

The party also backs a £9 national minimum wage, as well as an independence referendum.

The SSP also distanced itself from the split with ex-leader Tommy Sheridan.

Launching his party's manifesto in Glasgow, Mr Fox said clear blue water separated his party with the anti-cuts message of George Galloway's Respect party, and the pro-independence and local council tax messages promoted by the SNP.

He also insisted the SSP could claim credit for many of the successes of the last Scottish Parliament, even though the party had no MSPs, adding that his would re-emerge as the party of the left in Scotland.

Mr Fox said: "I have to insist, because it's not been recorded very widely, the SSP played a very important role in the abolition of prescription charges.

"I give full credit to the SNP government for abolishing them but I think it is fair to remind people that the SSP was this party that introduced them."

SSP candidate Frances Curran insisted the imprisonment of Mr Sheridan for perjury over allegations about his sex life had vindicated the party and brought the episode to a close.

She said of Sheridan, who left the Scottish Socialists to set up new left-wing party Solidarity: "When campaigning in Glasgow at the height of the trial we did get it in the street but I think that one has been, dare I say it, put to bed."

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