Thursday, March 26th, 2015
People in the most deprived areas of Scotland are more likely to suffer from poor health and die earlier compared with people in affluent areas.
Today the Green MSPs have published a new briefing paper on health inequalities, which calls for:
-Incomes to be raised through policies such as a £10 minimum wage
-Legislation to bring in Health Inequality Impact Assessments (HIIA) for all significant government policies
-The creation of a Healthy Challenge Fund to empower communities in the same way as the hugely successful Climate Challenge Fund
Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, said:
“Successive governments have attempted to reduce health inequality by trying to change people’s behaviour, but this has made little tangible difference. The most important things which affect our health include income, access to health and social services, good quality jobs and the quality of our environment.
“Given the wide range of factors influencing our health, we should be looking at how all major government decisions affect health inequality. And we should be supporting a community-led approach so that particular local health challenges can be tackled through projects designed and run by the community.”
Wednesday, March 25th, 2015
Patrick Harvie, Scottish Green MSP for Glasgow, today used a Scottish Parliament debate on Scotland’s economy to highlight the urgent need to rebalance the economy by opposing cuts, investing in sustainable industries and creating jobs in every part of the country.
Mr Harvie criticised the Labour motion and Libdem amendment in the debate. Labour’s motion fails to mention that it has agreed to further spending cuts, while the Libdem amendment expresses concern at cuts it has agreed to as part of the UK Coalition.
“Scotland is undoubtedly a wealthy country, but our economy remains out of balance. The appalling inequality in our society has not been helped by public spending cuts and the pumping of money into the banks.
“Instead we should pursue a programme of direct investment in sustainable sectors and create local employment so all parts of the country experience real recovery. Labour’s failure to mount an effective opposition at Westminster and the Libdems’ feigned outrage will be seen for the weaknesses that they are. Green ideas to build an economy for the people are what Scotland and the UK need more than ever.”
The amendment put forward by Patrick Harvie for today’s debate:
Supporting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendment to motion S4M-12776 in the name of Jackie Baillie (Supporting Scotland’s Economy), leave out from “rejects” to end and insert “considers that the UK Government’s austerity agenda is ideologically motivated by those who seek an ever-smaller state and poorer public services as ends in themselves; deeply regrets that the main opposition party in the UK Parliament also remains committed to cuts that will have the same effect; believes that a credible alternative to austerity is available in the form of a programme of green quantitative easing (QE); recognises that, instead of creating money to rebalance balance sheets in the financial services sector, a green QE programme would provide investment in the transition to a sustainable economy; sees many benefits of such a programme, including stimulating the real economy and the creation of jobs in every constituency of the UK, more rapid progress toward social and environmental targets and localised control of economic assets instead of a privatised model of infrastructure investment; believes that Scotland’s economy needs such investment, and considers that this would complement the progress that has been made on the development of renewables and energy efficiency in Scotland.”
Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
STV’s proposal to exclude the Scottish Greens from its debate on 7 April has prompted over ten thousand signatures on a petition, backed by the leaders of all four other parties, and a motion supported by a majority of MSPs from across the political spectrum.
BBC Scotland will host a leaders’ debate featuring 6 parties on 8 April and a further debate on 3 May featuring 4 parties.
Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said:
“BBC Scotland’s proposed first debate is to be welcomed, and it shows how out of step STV are. The huge support we’ve had from the public and across the political spectrum shows that a broadcaster excluding the Scottish Greens is out of touch with its audience.
“We will continue to make the case for inclusion in all TV debates in Scotland. It’s essential that voters get to hear a broad range of voices.”
Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
Government figures confirm that the top 10 per cent of households in Scotland own 44 per cent of all private wealth, while the bottom half of households have just 9 per cent of private wealth in total.
In the corresponding public attitudes survey, 48 per cent of Scots think that taxes and spending should increase, compared to 4 per cent who that they should decrease. 48 per cent also agreed that the government should redistribute money from the rich to the poor.
The Greens have published a new briefing on wealth with details of their proposed tax, which would be charged on individuals with assets worth more that £2.5million.
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP said:
“These figures paint a sad picture of a divided society, and they make the case for a new wealth tax on the richest among us.
“Our proposal would directly address the unacceptable gap between the most and least fortunate in our society. We are a wealthy country with plenty of food and yet inequality is driving thousands of families to food banks. It is very clear that those with assets of several million pounds can afford to contribute a bit more.”
Monday, March 23rd, 2015
“It’s a bit rich for Ed Miliband to talk about a society where we look after each other, given his shadow chancellor won’t reverse the Coalition’s austerity budget and his shadow work and pensions minister doesn’t want to represent people who’re out of a job. The first-past-the-post voting system is broken and at this election people are keener than ever to vote for what they believe in.
“With bold policies such as a £10 minimum wage by 2020, publicly-owned railways, and opposition to the TTIP trade deal which threatens public services, it’s no wonder so many members of the Green Surge are former Labour supporters.”
Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
Responding to the UK budget speech, the Scottish Greens says the Chancellor’s rosy depiction of the economy is not being felt on the ground, with low wages, insecure employment and welfare sanctions continuing to reinforce poverty and inequality in the UK.
The Greens are leading a debate in Holyrood today on in-work poverty, and are campaigning for a £10 minimum wage by 2020.
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, said:
“This is not a plan to make the UK a fairer or more sustainable society. Instead of an eye-watering £1.3 billion subsidy for fossil fuels, the Chancellor could have provided a gigantic boost to locally-owned clean energy or backed the return of our railways to public hands.
“This Coalition has delivered five years of hacking away at the public good and at the foundations of our welfare state. It’s been a devastating and costly campaign by an elite in Westminster and the prospect of another round should terrify everyone who is fighting for social justice in this country.”
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, said:
“The Westminster coalition try to paint a rosy picture but what they describe will seem to many like a fantasy economy, far removed from the reality of rising rents, insecure low paid work and the misery of welfare cuts. The Greens want to see a £10 minimum wage and the small rises announced today are completely inadequate in a world of extreme high pay at the top.”
Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
Green MSP Alison Johnstone today successfully moved a package of amendments to the Community Empowerment Bill to bring in a fans’ right to buy their football clubs at any time The amendments were signed by Labour MSP Ken Macintosh, and were backed by all members of the Local Government and Community Committee. The campaign has also been backed by Scotland’s leading anti-sectarianism charity Nil By Mouth, by Supporters Direct, and by others in the supporter ownership movement.
In the Committee meeting the Minister pledged support for a legislative approach to the problems of Scottish football, and Stage 3 is now expected to see changes and refinements to these proposals before Parliament finally approves the Bill. This decision is overwhelmingly popular, according to the results of a Survation poll commissioned by Green MSPs, where 72% of those expressing a view supported a fans’ right to buy their local club for a market value at any point.
Alison Johnstone MSP, who lodged the amendments, said:
“This is an extraordinary day for the future of Scottish football. We know how badly the game has been struggling, from Gretna to Hearts and Rangers, and we know fan ownership works. It’s great that Parliament has today united around the principle of a responsible fans’ right to buy their clubs. Once this bill passes at Stage 3, fans across the country will have nothing to fear from irresponsible owners like those who have undermined so many clubs. We know there are plenty of good private owners of clubs, and this will not require fans to buy them out, but when they move on, fans will be in the right place to take over if they wish.
“I am grateful to the members of the committee for seizing this opportunity to put fans first, and in particular to Ken Macintosh MSP, who co-signed these amendments and spoke powerfully in favour of them at Committee. We asked fans what they wanted, and they asked us for the tools to do the job and run their clubs responsibly for the long term. Today Holyrood has lived up to their aspirations.”
Dave Scott, campaign director for Nil By Mouth, said:
“We welcome such strong cross party support for Alison’s proposals for greater fan control and ownership of their clubs, and feel that this could be an exciting opportunity for the silent majority of fans to find their voice and use their increased position to bring about the real changes required to bring the Scottish game into the 21st century.”
See earlier story on our Fans First site here.
Monday, March 16th, 2015
The Greens are highlighting the fact that the apprenticeship wage is currently only £2.73 an hour for those in their first year, which means that some young people up to the age of 25 are working 30 hours a week for a monthly wage packet of just £327.60.
On Wednesday at Holyrood the Greens will invite other parties to vote on a motion which calls for a £10 minimum wage for all by 2020, and other measures such as a tax to redistribute the wealth of the richest one per cent in society.
Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie, a member of Holyrood’s economy committee, said:
“Hundreds of thousands of working age adults in Scotland are living in poverty. They have been let down by an economic policy pursued by successive governments, wrongly assuming that if we make the rich richer some of that money will trickle down.
“At the same time we’ve seen the welfare system being used to subsidise poverty wages when we should be putting real money in people’s pockets for them to live decent lives. It’s simply unacceptable that someone in their mid-twenties can be in an apprenticeship earning less than £3 an hour. What sort of message does this send about the value we place on our young people?
“By making sure everyone’s wage meets their basic needs we can get to grips with the inequality that is doing so much damage in our country.”
Monday, March 16th, 2015
The petition was launched at 11am on Thursday, after STV announced plans to exclude the Scottish Greens despite the party’s strong polling and surge in membership.
The leaders of Scotland’s four other main parties backed the call for STV to invite the Greens.
Handing in the petition at STV’s HQ in Glasgow today, Zara Kitson, Scottish Green MP candidate for Glasgow North-east, said:
“The huge support we’ve had from across Scotland, and across the political spectrum, shows that a broadcaster excluding the Scottish Greens is out of touch with its audience. TV debates remain an important part of our democracy, and as we head towards an election like no other with an electorate more engaged than ever before, it’s essential that voters get to hear a broad range of voices.
“The option of legal action remains open to us but we hope today’s show of support prompts a rethink by STV.”
Ten thousand sign petition calling on STV to invite the Greens as other parties support their inclusion
Saturday, March 14th, 2015
The Scottish Green Party have today, Saturday 14th March, announced that the petition calling for their inclusion in STV’s leaders debate has reached ten thousand signatures. This comes after the leaders of Scotland’s other four major parties have announced their support for the Greens inclusion.
Launched at 11am on Thursday, after STV announced their plans to hold a debate with four of Scotland’s five parties, the petition has received support across Scotland, peaking at forty signatures a minute and reaching ten thousand signatures at 13.53 on Saturday. At the time of release the total number stands at 10,103.
Commenting on the public and political support, Patrick Harvie MSP said:
“This groundswell of support across Scotland shows that there is a clear demand for the Greens to be included in the debate. These past two years have seen high-quality, enjoyable televised debates, with STV often hosting the best of them and with the Greens regularly given a platform. The public clearly expect this diversity of vision to continue being on offer, if only for them as voters to give us the scrutiny we all deserve.
We are also grateful for the messages of support from the leaders of Scotland’s four other major parties. Their statements add considerable weight to the call by over ten thousand members of the public for STV to reconsider and extend an invitation to the Greens. Taking legal action is not our preferred option but it is one we will have to keep open unless the broadcaster reconsiders their position.”
Nicola Sturgeon https://twitter.com/NicolaSturgeon/status/576345306880704513