Greens will lead the charge against cuts to local jobs and services

The Scottish Greens’ conference in Perth today (22 October) heard a rallying call from the party’s co-convener as it heads into the local authority elections next year.

Maggie Chapman told the audience of Green members at the Perth Concert Hall that the council elections in 2017 will see the party play a prominent role in deciding “… who will lead, transform and develop their local authorities”.

The speech also focused on how Greens are proud to be “citizens of the world” who will continue to campaign for an “internationalist, welcoming Scotland”.

Maggie Chapman, the Scottish Greens’ co-convener, said:

“We don't just need more power for Holyrood - we need more power in communities across Scotland. Local authority elections offer us the chance to make that case this coming year. Now, I know it's not always an easy case to make.  

“When I was a councillor I made the case for giving communities the right to decide how community grant money was spent. Not everyone agreed - it would result in worse decisions, or there would be very little interest. Nearly a decade later, the Scottish Government has agreed to put £2million into participatory budgeting across Scotland. 

“When I suggested a Living Wage for all Edinburgh Council employees, people thought it was just not practical. Not practical to pay workers a wage that enables them to live in dignity and comfort. Now we have a widespread commitment to living wage - even if George Osborne still gets it confused with the minimum wage. 

“Next year in May, people across Scotland will have the opportunity to choose who will lead, transform and develop their local authorities. This presents perhaps our best opportunity to ensure our green principles of participatory democracy form the bedrock of our local government. 

“We Greens will offer an alternative to the centralising tendencies of the SNP. We Greens will present plans for local government that are inclusive and participative. We Greens will be leading the charge against austerity and cuts to local jobs and services.”

Addressing Scotland’s place in Europe and the world, Maggie said:

“The result of the European referendum emphasises how effective we have been in creating an inclusive internationalist politics in Scotland. The 62% remain vote stands as a testament to how differently Scots felt to those in most of the rest of the UK. That is not to say that we don't still have a great deal of work to do. But we have avoided the worst of the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the debate in the rest of the UK. In Scotland UKIP are a laughing stock. At Westminster they set the agenda for government. 

“As greens we are proud to be citizens of the world: and we will work to be citizens of an internationalist, welcoming Scotland.  A Scotland that works for Social Justice throughout the world. A Scotland committed to ending climate change, working for peace and protecting human rights.”