SSP Member: 'Policies That We Need Won't Be Coming From Sturgeon and Davidson'

© REUTERS / Jeff Overs / Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show in London, May 14, 2017.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show in London, May 14, 2017. - Sputnik International
Sputnik spoke to Colin Fox, National Co-Spokesperson of the Scottish Socialist Party about Ruth Davidson's idea to ditch immigration targets to increase spending on the NHS.

Sputnik: So Scotland most senior conservative Ruth Davidson has challenged Theresa May to ditch immigration targets to fund the NHS and help young people to buy homes… How significant is this and is it a realistic proposal?

Colin Fox: First of I think Ruth Davidson is right about the underfunding of the NHS both at local level and national level. The blame for that lies with the Tories in Westminster and the SNP in Scotland. The fact of the matter is the SNP is underfunded because it spends far too much of its budget on these hugely unpopular and unprofitable PFI contracts. Here in Edinburgh, the Royal Infirmary, it would have cost us £300M if we had bought part of the traditional NHS budget but cost us £3Bn. Similarly, the SNP’s sick children hospital, being built under the Scottish futures trust, costing us a fortune, and we don’t even own it. If that what she’s [Ruth Davidson] getting then she’s right but I suspect she’s not. The NHS needs more funds and more funds spent on frontline services instead of these huge PFI contracts.

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Sputnik: This statement from Davidson follows an analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies setting out how necessary NHS funding increases will require taxes to rise by up to 2.6 per cent of GDP or £2,000 per household.  It seems like revenue earned from scrapping immigration targets still seems way off from meeting this 2.6 per cent rise in GDP…. Is this actually a commitment from Ruth Davidson or just a ploy to win over voters?

Anti-independence supporters wave Union Jack flags (R) as thousands of demonstrators carry Saltire flags, the national flag of Scotland, as they march in support of Scottish independence through the streets of Glasgow, on May 5, 2018 - Sputnik International
Thousands of Independence Supporters March in Scotland's Glasgow
Colin Fox: I think it’s a gimmick. These hypothecated taxes, where they raise money with the idea to spend it on one particular purpose; the trouble is the populations do not trust politicians to keep their word. Whilst the NHS is loved, taxes and politicians aren’t. I’m in favor in raising taxes on people who don’t pay tax and who need to – a wealth tax. We need to introduce a Tobin Tax on financial transactions, or a windfall tax on the Oil Companies profits. Something that Ruth Davidson has never done is stopping the enormous sums of companies avoiding paying tax. Tax avoidance and tax evasion are colossal problems in Britain; Starbucks pay no taxes, Amazon pays no taxes, Apple and Google… we need to close these tax havens where billions of pounds are pouring out of the country and make sure that money is going to the NHS, rather than Ruth Davidson adding taxes to the burden of working people, who already pay too much tax in the country.

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Sputnik: Parliamentary elections in Scotland are just around the corner… What effect will Davidson’s comments have on the SNP — Scotland’s largest party?

Colin Fox: With less than a year away from Britain leaving the EU, I feel that has been much talk by people like Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson and many others, most of their forecasts have been well off the mark. These people were saying in 2016 when we voted to the EU, they were forecasting doom and gloom and it’s not happened. We’re all entitled to feel jaded about these Nostradamus-like predictions. They’re not honest, they didn’t vote to leave, so they’re hardly likely to give their best intelligence about what’s going to happen. I think Brexit will happen and very little difference will be made, working people still find themselves working for poverty wages in Scotland, insecure contracts, young people still find themselves miles from decent accommodation and their own house – that’s not going to change by Brexit. The real policies that we need will not be coming from Ruth Davidson and Nicola Sturgeon. I suspect the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections we’ll see a very very great change in political horizon that we’ve got at the moment.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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