Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, today used the first Holyrood debate of 2016 to speak up for public services and a bolder parliament to bring about a more equal society.Patrick speech_small

Mr Harvie pointed out that many public services are at risk, and that inequality remains a challenge due to powers retained by Westminster or in the hands of big business.

Patrick Harvie, Finance and Economy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Glasgow, said:

"2016 is an important year for Scotland, with an election that will determine the direction our parliament goes in. After 9 years of the current Scottish Government, fresh thinking and bold ideas are clearly needed, with a strong opposition challenging ministers but also working constructively to take Scotland forward.

"We all rely on public services, and investment in our NHS and social care, education and housing is paramount, but the future of those services is at stake as the UK Government continues to turn the austerity screw. Scotland can support its public services but Holyrood must resist the private finance and outsourcing agenda that has been a weakness of successive Scottish Governments, and it must unlock power at local level so communities can shape their future.

"Scotland can tackle inequality but the modest tax and welfare powers being devolved will still leave us with economic policy decided by right-wing free-marketeers like George Osborne and tax-dodging big businesses. We need a bolder Holyrood to insist on a true Living Wage for all and remove public support from businesses who continue to exploit workers with low wages and insecure contracts.

"And as other parties line up to pledge allegiance to economic growth Greens will continue to challenge an outdated and unsustainable system that generates wealth for those who need it least and harms quality of life for everyone else by risking the environment that supports us. Scotland can have jobs for the future, a fairer society and strong public services but we need a bolder Holyrood to achieve it."