The Scottish Greens have agreed a transformational budget deal with the Scottish Government that will put more cash into green transport and vital local services, help tackle poverty and address the climate emergency. Here’s everything you need to know about the deal.
1. Bus travel will be free for all under-19s
From next year over a million young people across Scotland and their families will benefit from this transformational policy. It will tackle poverty and isolation. It will make families better off and give young people the mobility and freedom they need to access education and employment opportunities, not to mention the social benefits this will bring them. It will help tackle the climate emergency, reduce congestion and toxic air pollution by getting more people on buses, giving people an affordable alternative to private cars, and helping rebuild a culture of using public transport.
2. £95m for local services across the country
The Scottish Greens are the party of local government. We want to see strong, well-funded local government providing excellent services. In total, the Scottish Greens have now got more than half a billion pounds put into local services like schools, libraries and social care since the beginning of this parliament.
3. Cycling and walking infrastructure budget increased to £100m
The Scottish Green deal will see £15m more spent on infrastructure like cycling lanes next year. This means that, for the first time ever, the budget for cycling and walking is in the triple figures. We believe that cycling and walking could play a huge role in tackling the climate emergency and making everyone healthier and happier, and we will keep on striving for much more cash for the vital infrastructure needed to make this happen.
4. £25m for low-carbon, warm homes
Investing in making Scotland’s homes more efficient is a win-win-win. It means warmer homes that are low carbon and cheap to run. Critically, the cash secured by the Scottish Greens will be given out to Councils to spend on those households that most need it, such as families in social housing that are suffering fuel poverty. Again, the Scottish Greens will keep on campaigning for a massive increase in energy efficiency funding over the coming years.
5. £5m to advance new rail projects
If we’re to reduce congestion and emissions from transport, we need to make rail more attractive than road. That’s why we secured additional funding to advance two key rail projects:
- The Milngavie line suffers the most unreliable in the country, but hundreds of thousands depend on it. As a result of the Scottish Green deal upgrade options – like re-duelling the line – will now be appraised.
- A feasibility study of re-opening the railway between Dunfermline and Alloa will go ahead.
6. £18m for Police Scotland
The Scottish Greens believe in well-funded local services, and in response to strong concerns about the lack of investment in community safety, we agreed a significant investment in Police Scotland.
7. Road review
The Scottish Greens have long argued that investment in transport must change in response to the climate emergency. Building new road capacity means more emissions, more congestion and is ultimately a waste of public money. As part of our deal, the Scottish Government have agreed in principle to align investment decisions with climate targets, and to review their controversial plans to spend £120m on a flyover at Sheriffhall. This review will look at whether this project is compatible with climate commitments and will identify green alternatives to improving transport links instead.
“This #ScotBudget deal appears to represent a strong step in the right direction. Expanding free bus travel to young people, and an increase in funding for walking and cycling is recognition that our priorities on transport must change."https://t.co/muC309M3y9
— Friends of the Earth Scotland 🌎 (@FoEScot) February 26, 2020
Making public transport more affordable and accessible is essential in loosening the grip of poverty on people's lives.
So the commitment to free bus travel for under 18s will be a welcome first step in building a transport system that works for everyone. https://t.co/JeYHKo2CA4
— Poverty Alliance (@PovertyAlliance) February 26, 2020
The cost of transport is a massive issue, and one that young people consistently tell us is a barrier to accessing their #humanrights— especially in rural areas. So we're glad to hear a free bus travel scheme will be a reality for under 18s in Scotland 🚌🚌🚌 pic.twitter.com/OjGzEyJw0K
— Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland (@CYPCS) February 26, 2020
— Transform Scotland (@TransformScot) February 26, 2020
Bill Scott highlights that concessionary and free public transport is key to attainment for young people. He highlights that yesterday's Budget announcement reflects one of the priorities of @povinequalscot. #povertyinscotlandhttps://t.co/oqdVbMiIFy
— Edinburgh Poverty Commission (@EndPovertyEdin) February 27, 2020
Good to see more action on #climate change in the #ScotBudget deal. We welcome more money for walking, cycling, bus transport for young people and extra funding for #energy efficiency. https://t.co/NdK2qGtR1u
— WWF Scotland 🌍 (@WWFScotland) February 26, 2020