‘Only the Communist Party is calling in this election for sweeping measures to tax the rich and big business, end austerity, take energy and the railways back into public ownership and for Britain to leave the EU and NATO’, the party’s General Secretary Robert Griffiths declared today (Tuesday April 21).
  Launching ‘a communist manifesto for the 21st century’ today in central London, he accused the main Westminster parties of colluding with Britain’s tax avoidance industry to deprive the Treasury of tens of billions of pounds each year.
  ‘The other party leaders can repeat their promises to clamp down on the tax dodgers until flying pigs come home, but they refuse to abolish the tax haven status of some 28 British overseas territories and dependencies, from Jersey and the Isle of Man to Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands’, Mr Griffiths remarked.
  The Communist Party leader, who is standing in Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney, also proposed a ‘Tobin-type tax’ on financial transactions in the City and a ‘modest’ 2 per cent wealth tax on the richest one-tenth of the population.
  These measures alone would more than eliminate Britain’s financial deficit and show that austerity cuts are really the ‘shoddy pretext for slashing and privatising public services for the sake of big business profits’, he claimed.
  Communist candidate in Newcastle East, Mollie Stevenson, demanded the renationalisation of gas, electricity and the railways. This has been a major theme of the party’s billboard campaign in the nine constituencies being contested.
  She told the central London press conference that privatisation has been a ‘rip-off of criminal proportions which has robbed the people of Britain’, warning that Private Finance Initiative payments threatened to bankrupt a growing number of NHS hospital trusts over the next five years.
  One of the youngest candidates at the general election, Laura Jane Rossington, demanded an end to minimum wage ‘discrimination’ against young workers. The 18 year old candidate in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport also called for real equality for women in matters of pay, promotion and pensions.
  Ben Stevenson, who is standing in Croydon North, highlighted the Communist Party’s proposal for a ‘federal Britain’, with extensive economic, financial and law-making powers for Scotland, Wales and – where the demand exists – the regions of England.
  ‘All three nations would benefit from Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and NATO, enabling us to pursue domestic, foreign and non-nuclear defence policies free from pro-big business diktat and aggressive foreign wars’, the party’s national organiser insisted.
  The Communist Party’s nine candidates are Steve Andrew (Sheffield Central), Andy Chaffer (Birmingham Hodge Hill), Mark Griffiths (Torfaen), Rob Griffiths (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney), Zoe Hennessy (Glasgow North West), Laura-Jane Rossington (Plymouth Sutton & Devonport), Gerry Sables (Devon North), Ben Stevenson (Croydon North), Mollie Stevenson (Newcastle upon Tyne East).