The Scottish budget must be a bold, anti-poverty budget

Patrick Harvie MSP Fri 25 Nov, 2016

Sometimes in politics a simple phrase gets lodged into everyone’s consciousness, framing a debate. This is sometimes deliberate, but it can happen by accident too. As Scotland approaches the first budget in which meaningful tax decisions will be made, one example of this needs to be challenged.

Ministers have watered down proposals on Crown Estate revenue

Thu 24 Nov, 2016

Andy Wightman MSP, Land Reform spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, tonight (24 Nov) expressed concern after the Islands Minister Humza Yousaf confirmed that the Scottish Government has retreated from its plans to give local authorities statutory rights to Crown Estate coastal revenues.

In June last year, the First Minister stated that in light of the devolution of Crown Estate assets, "coastal and island councils will benefit from 100 per cent of the net revenue generated in their area from activities within 12 miles of the shore”.

Delight at legal protection for beavers

Thu 24 Nov, 2016

Mark Ruskell MSP, Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (24 Nov) welcomed the long-overdue decision of Scottish Ministers to give protected status to Scotland's beavers.

Beavers were reintroduced to Argyll in 2009 and have been living in Tayside but to date have not had any legal protection.

In January of this year, parliamentary questions by the Greens revealed that beavers that were heavily pregnant or had recently given birth had been shot. Since May, Mark Ruskell has been pursuing the Scottish Government over the issue of legal protection.

Mark raises CETA concerns with First Minister

Thu 24 Nov, 2016

Mark Ruskell MSP, Food & Farming spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (24 Nov) raised with the First Minister fresh concerns about the CETA trade deal signed between the EU and Canada after discovering that it threatens the NHS in Scotland and Scottish food exports.

Use devolved tax & social security powers to reduce inequality, protect services

Thu 24 Nov, 2016

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, today (24 Nov) pressed the First Minister to commit to anti-poverty measures in the forthcoming draft Scottish budget, in response to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.

At First Minister's Questions, Mr Harvie pointed out that most of the income tax cuts still to come will go to the richest half of households, and that changes to Universal Credit restore only a fraction of what’s already been taken away from poorer households.

Apprenticeships are vital

Alison Johnstone MSP Wed 23 Nov, 2016

I recently hosted the Scottish Apprentice of the Year Awards for the Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council in the Scottish Parliament, and it underlined how vital it is that we offer apprenticeships.

Fourteen young people were honoured for their outstanding work. To have reached the final when there are some 5,000 apprentices registered with SBATC is no mean feat.  Yet it became clear that many would struggle to find place on their crowded mantelpieces for another award, such is their talent in their chosen trade.  

Autumn Statement needs strong action from Scot Gov using devolved powers

Wed 23 Nov, 2016

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, today (23 Nov) responded to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement by urging the Scottish Government to use consequential capital funds to invest in energy efficient homes and high quality childcare, and to commit to progressive tax policies.

Mr Harvie said:

Chronic lack of trust from teachers and parents in the SQA

Wed 23 Nov, 2016

Ross Greer, Education & Skills spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (23 Nov) challenged the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) over what he termed 'issues of teacher trust'.

In June this year, Mr Greer questioned the Education Secretary in Parliament about the National 5 computing science exam paper, which was full of errors and described by some teachers as one of the worst ever set.

This week, geography teachers claimed that this year's Higher exam was the worst ever.

Rail passengers deserve action to improve the current dismal situation

Wed 23 Nov, 2016

John Finnie MSP, Transport spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, will today (Wed 23 Nov) urge under-fire Transport Minister Humza Yousaf to improve compensation for rail passengers experiencing poor service.

Scotrail operator Abellio has been forced to produce a performance improvement plan by Transport Scotland and the Transport Minister is due to make a statement to Parliament this afternoon.

CETA corporate power grab risks our public services & economy

Mon 21 Nov, 2016

Mark Ruskell MSP, Food & Farming spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, is raising fresh concerns about the CETA trade deal signed between the EU and Canada after discovering that it threatens the NHS in Scotland and Scottish food exports.

In an answer to a parliamentary question that Mr Ruskell put to Economy Secretary Keith Brown, it is revealed that NHS Scotland has not been specifically listed as being exempt from CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement), potentially leaving it open to commercial entry.