THINK about the song Imagine, as John Lennon might have written it today: Imagine no austerity, no cuts or closures too. For Scotland’s local councils, it isn’t hard to do. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one...

But this is not a dream! It’s time politicians woke up to accept there is absolutely no excuse for the butchery to communities and workforces they are busily carrying out – in the sixth-richest economy on Earth.

Brand new figures on Scottish incomes prove the alternative advocated by the Scottish Socialist Party since our formation in 1998 would literally double the funding for local authorities. It would obliterate every excuse for every single cut to local services, jobs, community facilities, or increased service charges.

And it would guarantee an additional £2 billion to expand services and improve lives nationwide. Not a dream; a very concrete, immediate reality.

The National: A council tax bill (Joe Giddens/PA)

We’re talking here about just one string in the SSP’s bow when it comes to redistribution of wealth from the rich to the rest of us: outright abolition of the unfair, regressive Council Tax, and its replacement by an income-based Scottish Service Tax, devised by the SSP, based on ability to pay, with a succession of tax bands and progressively rising taxation rates.

The first £12,000 of a person’s income would be entirely exempt; the income bracket £12,000-£30,000 would pay 4.5% towards local jobs and services, peaking at 20% Service Tax on all income above £100,000.

READ MORE: Argyll, Bute and South Lochaber: Smart money is on SNP despite polls

Councillors and MSPs in the Tory, Labour, SNP, and Scottish Green parties are wrecking working-class communities with a poisonous cocktail of closures, skyrocketing charges for community facilities and social care, and job losses, while keeping the regressive Council Tax that hammers low and middle-income families.

In South Lanarkshire, the Labour and Tory coalition is shutting libraries, community centres, and youth hubs like there’s no tomorrow. There’ll be nothing left in Blantyre, Cambuslang, or Rutherglen if they get away with it.

In Glasgow, the SNP and Scottish Green Party councillors slashed yet another £150 million off services, chopping 450 teachers’ jobs, butchering health and social care for the most vulnerable.

Austerity begins in Westminster, where the Tories mete out savage cuts to Scottish budgets – and the Labour government-in-waiting brazenly pledge to stick with Tory spending limits.

Then, instead of defying the Tories’ war on public services, refusing to implement their austerity, the SNP/Scottish Green Party coalition’s annual Scottish Budgets have devolved the cuts to colleges, local authorities, etc. In turn, spineless councillors implement this butchery, refusing to fight for the people who elected them. Devastation in communities follows.

READ MORE: Karen Adam: This General Election can be summed up in 'ABC'

For 25 years, the SSP has fought for both the Scottish Government and councils to set “No Cuts” Defiance Budgets; for MSPs and councillors to discover a spine, stand up, give a fighting lead and help mobilise protest meetings, demonstrations, strikes and occupations of threatened community facilities.

We've fought to build a mass campaign to win back some of the £5bn stolen from Scottish budgets by the Tory razor gang (funding theft which Starmer’s Labour swear they will continue) – and from the Scottish Government, which devolved the destruction instead of defying and defeating Westminster austerity.

The National: LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 24: The Elizabeth Tower, commonly known as Big Ben, is seen behind the Houses of Parliament on March 24, 2017 in London, England. A fourth person has died after Khalid Masood drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge

Alongside that, for 25 years the SSP has fought for emergency legislation to abolish the Council Tax and replace it with a progressive Scottish Service Tax, based on personal incomes, taxing 75% of people less and the rich far, far more.

Back in 2007, spotting the popular support for our street campaigns and demos to Axe the Tax, the SNP fought the Scottish elections promising to scrap it. After 17 years in government, they’ve done absolutely nothing to abolish the hated Council Tax. And for 25 years, Labour have opposed its abolition.

The SSP support neither Council Tax increases nor the Council Tax freeze. We call for its outright abolition, and replacement by an income-based Scottish Service Tax.

Our calculations, based on the latest available government statistics, show this would double funding for local jobs and services, from £2.7bn Council Tax to £5.3bn under a Scottish Service Tax.

This would shield every job, worker’s wage, and public service from the present round of cuts – and still provide another £2bn towards measures like free public transport for all; district heating systems to cut bills and an emergency programme of council house building, all creating tens of thousands of jobs in the process.

Some 1.8 million Scots wouldn’t pay a penny – because their incomes are below £12,000. A worker on £30,000 would still only pay £810 a year, a far cry from today’s punitive Council Tax bills.

In sharp contrast, a minuscule handful of the very richest – about 13,000 people with incomes over £200,000 each – would have to stump up a total of £1bn, one-fifth of the total £5.3bn annual Scottish Service Tax raised.

That’s what a progressive tax looks like – making the rich pay.

This is no pipe dream, but an immediate, practical application of socialist principles, well within the powers of the Scottish Parliament, even within the straitjacket of devolution.

Politicians bearing all colours of rosettes bleat, “There’s nothing we can do about cuts and closures; we don’t have the money”.

They should grow a collective spine, abolish the regressive Council Tax, replace it with a Scottish Service Tax based on income, tax the rich and double council funds, thereby ending the devastation facing communities.