Patrick Harvie: Further changes needed to budget

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie MSP has warned the Scottish Government that more needs to be done to tackle poverty in communities across the country.

Mr Harvie said as well as doing more to tackle poverty the Scottish Government also needs to increase its ambition on investment in green jobs to sow the seeds of a green economic recovery.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“The Scottish Government must go further to deliver a budget that tackles poverty and lays the foundations for a green recovery.

“The Scottish Greens have engaged constructively with government since it outlined its budget last month. We have made it clear that a much greater emphasis on tackling poverty is required. We’ve shown how this can be done by increasing direct payments to families, expanding the free school meals programme and extending eligibility for concessionary bus travel.

“As is so often the case it is those who were already living in poverty prior to the pandemic who have borne the hardship throughout the crisis and it is them we must support now.

“The Scottish Government’s budget also fails to adequately address the challenges posed by the climate crisis. We know for instance that rolling out home energy efficiency schemes is a great way to create green jobs, reduce energy bills, and lower emissions. Government should be investing much more in this area.

“Additional investment for local government is welcome. Councils have been at the forefront of the response to the pandemic in our communities; supporting the most vulnerable, getting cash to local businesses and continuing to deliver vital local services. So, it is right that they get a fair settlement.

“Greens will continue to engage constructively with the Scottish Government, but we are clear that there must be significant movement from the government on our key asks if they wish to strike a deal with us.”