5 Bold Commitments from the Scottish Greens
In the last five years your Green MSPs have had a clear influence on the Scottish Government: improved private rents, better protection for Scotland's land and a moratorium on fracking are just a few results they achieved together.
But the Scottish Government still has work to do. The people of Scotland want much more: full rent controls, real land reform and a permanent ban on fracking. Half measures are not enough when Scotland can be better.
Holyrood has the power to get the job done here and now. We just need to be bold.
The Scottish Greens have consistently urged the Scottish Government to be more ambitious. With polls predicting at least eight Green MSPs elected from across every region, their call will be more urgent still, creating a bolder parliament with the courage to build a better Scotland.
Here are five commitments from the Scottish Greens for a bolder Holyrood:
1. Scotland can make renting fair
The Scottish Greens will campaign for rent controls across Scotland. Too many people pay too much for somewhere to live, and so we urgently need rent controls that reflect property's quality and limit future rises. We will also press for improved security of tenure so that renters can depend on their lease, and hold letting agencies to account by promoting regulation to tackle poor service and ensure information is available about good letting agencies. (Read more)
2. Scotland can reform Police Scotland
The Scottish Greens will champion local policing and investment in community policing. One size does not fit all when it comes to policing, so a significant devolution of power and resources to local division level is needed. It is also vital that robust checks and balances regulate the police force, and Green MSPs will press for a review of the Police Complaints Procedure to make it more independent from the Police.
We believe that force must be used proportionately, and will insist on a review of the authorisation and privacy protection related to surveillance powers, together with a requirement for evidenced need when authorising the deployment of armed officers. (Read more)
3. Scotland can be bolder on land reform
The Scottish Greens will strive for real land reform. Recent disclosures in the Panama Papers show that we must continue campaigning to end ownership of land in offshore tax havens, and we will go further still, pushing to make all land ownership fully transparent in Scotland.
How our land is used is just as important as who owns it. Green MSPs will campaign to ensure all vacant and derelict land will pay non-domestic rates, encouraging development and generating funds for local authorities. And in the long term, the Scottish Greens support radical reform of taxation via a Land Value Tax. (Read more)
4. Scotland can scrap and replace the Council Tax
The Scottish Greens will push to scrap the discredited Council Tax and replace it with a Residential Property Tax. The Council Tax system is now based on valuations a quarter of a century old, and residents of the most expensive homes pay only three times that of the least expensive, despite being worth on average 15 times more.
A rate of 1 per cent across Scotland with a tax-free housing allowance of £10,000 for every home would raise an additional £490 million for local services. Most households would pay less than at present. We will advocate for this new system to be introduced over a five-year transition period, and for a tax reduction scheme for low-income households, together with the option to reduce and defer payments on eligible households. (Read more)
5. Scotland can ban fracking once and for all
The Scottish Greens will take action to secure a permanent ban on fracking and unconventional fossil fuel extraction. The current moratorium postpones commercial drilling, but not exploration, and "Industry executives say privately the moratorium will not significantly delay or impact on their fracking plans ..."
Section 46 of the Scotland Act grants Scotland the power to issue licences for companies to search and bore for on-shore petroleum. When this power is devolved to the Scottish Parliament, we can simply refuse to grant licences for fracking.
But until that power is fully devolved, we can put in place interim measures now. In order to drill for and produce oil and gas onshore, planning permission and environmental licences are also required. These are already devolved to the Scottish Parliament, and can be used to effectively ban fracking today in the same way we have banned new nuclear developments. (Read more)
Now you know what the Scottish Greens will bring to the next session of Holyrood. No matter where you are in Scotland you can invest your vote with Green MSPs, and they will return bold and ambitious direction for the Scottish Government to make Scotland better.