Socialist Worker

Axe the council tax

Issue No. 1899

AROUND 2,000 protesters marched through Glasgow last Saturday calling for an end to the council tax. The demonstration marked the launch of a national "Axe the Tax" campaign and was led by Scottish Socialist Party MSP Tommy Sheridan. He told the rally at the Barrowland Ballroom, "The council tax has a death warrant issued. Let's establish 'Axe the Tax' committees in every part of the country in trade unions, communities and pensioner groups to establish a campaign that puts the interests of ordinary workers and pensioners before the wealthy and big business. Let's stop taxing the pensioners and start taxing the rich."

Nancy Dangerfield, a pensioner and veteran from the 1980s and 90s anti poll tax campaign, said, "The government appears to have lots of money to destroy council houses, hospitals and schools, not to mention the people of Iraq."

Margaret Grady, a Unison nursery nurse who had been on strike for eight weeks, received a standing ovation: "Some people might ask, what is the connection between our strike and the council tax campaign? The answer is, apart from low pay, the solidarity. We are standing up for what is right and standing up for what is just."

Allan Brown, PCS national officer, stated, "We must link scrapping the council tax to the campaign against poverty pay which currently blights this country." Jimmy Scott, firefighter and FBU member, argued in favour of replacing the council tax with the SSP's income-based Scottish Service Tax.

Mark Ballard MSP from the Scottish Green Party spoke at the rally and the SNP's John Swinney sent a message that "the SNP believes the council tax should be scrapped and replaced with an income tax based on the ability to pay." Elaine Smith was the sole Labour MSP who sent a message in support of the campaign.

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Sat 1 May 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1899
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