Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, will this week give a keynote speech to underline the importance of electing a bolder Holyrood with more Green voices so that Scotland can prioritise a sustainable economy that tackles inequality.
As part of the David Hume Institute's "The Politicians and the Professionals" series featuring all 5 Holyrood leaders, Mr Harvie will address an audience at the respected public policy forum in Edinburgh tomorrow evening (Tue 26 Jan).
Strong opinion polling suggests a record number of Green MSPs will be elected in May. The Scottish Greens now have over 9,000 members, with candidates in place across the eight electoral regions.
Speaking ahead of the talk, Patrick said:
"The two fundamental challenges Scotland faces are closely linked - the task of building a new, sustainable economy which can generate the jobs of the future and close the gap between the rich and the rest of us, is directly linked to the ecological challenge of limiting our carbon emissions and preparing for a post-carbon society. Scotland can meet these challenges and indeed Scottish Greens see huge opportunities for creating jobs and reducing inequality if we are bold in our choices. But those opportunities could be missed if government continues to pretend that business as usual will simply continue.
"We've heard recently from the Scottish Government's independent advisor on poverty and inequality that we need to improve housing affordability, reform local taxation and tackle fuel poverty. Greens will continue to push the Scottish Government to be bolder on rent controls, build more social housing, and properly funding energy efficiency measures, so we can address the scandal of fuel poverty and the housing crisis.
"On local tax, the Scottish Government's centralising agenda has put local authorities in an impossible position, resulting in job cuts and loss of services affecting the least well off in our communities. The Green agenda is a decentralising agenda. By unlocking the power in our communities we can generate revenue for warm, affordable homes and high quality public services.
"And we urgently need to pursue the agenda of Green Industrialisation. If we begin to plan the transition towards sustainable industries, Scotland can have a jobs-rich economy which respects the environment.
"We cannot be distracted by those who advocate extracting yet more fossil fuel that we simply cannot afford to burn. Instead we must invest in oil and gas decommissioning, renewables, quality food production, clean chemical sciences and the digital and creative sectors. It's where the jobs of the future are and it's a direction I strongly urge Scotland to take."