Alison Johnstone’s View – Greens’ constructive approach gets results

Friday April 23rd 2021

Alison-Johnstone-Green-Party-Lothian

This View has been written by Alison Johnstone, Green lead candidate for the Lothian Regional List.

Greens’ constructive approach gets results

The last two years have been a particularly difficult time for so many. The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities. As we begin to rebuild from the crisis, we must not return to the old normal where too many people are left behind and too many people are struggling to get by with precarious employment and insecure and prohibitively expensive housing.

Instead, we can ensure we have a recovery that addresses the climate crisis, delivers good, well-paying jobs and puts peoples’ health and wellbeing at the heart of public policy.

Throughout the last five years, Greens have sought to provide constructive opposition in the Scottish Parliament . We have pushed the Scottish Government to be bolder in many ways and delivered substantial wins through budget agreements.

Whilst other parties have declined to participate in budget negotiations, preferring to shout from the sidelines, we have delivered positive change for people up and down the country. Our new five-band tax model has meant that most pay less whilst higher earners pay a little more and we have reduced SNP cuts to Local Government budgets by over £400m, saving libraries, public parks and more. Outwith budget negotiations, we were pleased to see our manifesto commitment for a Young Carers Grant delivered. Through the Social Security Act we have ensured that unnecessary face to face assessments will not be required for devolved disability benefit applications.

We secured a ban on winter evictions which was extended while Covid restrictions still apply. As of this summer we will have delivered free bus travel for under-22s which will expand young people’s economic, social and educational opportunities. We have also expanded the provision of free school meals so that no child at primary school, regardless of their background, goes hungry. For those families who most need help, school holidays will be covered too. We have ensured that pandemic relief payments of up to £330 will reach Scotland’s lowest income households.

Thanks to hundreds of people signing our petition, we have recently secured a review of the contentious Sheriffhall flyover plans in Midlothian. Our petition succeeded in putting pressure on the Government to pause spending on a polluting, major road building scheme. In the face of the climate and nature emergency this is no time for business as usual. Indeed, the Government’s own transport department confirmed that this proposal would see congestion worsen. We can do better than this. We need to be putting every pound of investment we can behind securing a green recovery for Scotland.

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