Welfare win ends successful week for Greens at Holyrood

The new Green group of MSPs wasted no time getting to work this week, celebrating three big wins in the Scottish Parliament.

A Scottish Greens report revealed last month that 13,000 people a year could soon face sanctions under benefits devolved to the Scottish Government without a policy shift. Now, equalities secretary, Angela Constance has revealed that the Scottish Government will not “assist” the UK government in pushing through benefit sanctions in Scotland.

At First Minister’s Questions, when asked by Patrick Harvie MSP to support an Oxfam campaign to prevent tax dodging in Scotland, Ms Sturgeon replied saying “Yes, I certainly support the sentiments”. And on Thursday, the Scottish Parliament backed a motion amendment by Ross Greer MSP supporting the devolution of powers over asylum.

Patrick Harvie MSP, the Scottish Greens’ co-convener, said:

“The Green group in the Scottish Parliament is already showing just how capable a constructive opposition our six MSPs can be. Voters know that Green MSPs will work constructively with the Scottish Government to help push through quality, progressive legislation, and when necessary, we’ll also work to amend legislation by pushing the SNP out of its comfort zone.

“In our first week back at Holyrood, we’ve already convinced the government with our sanctions report by making the case that when employment programmes are devolved in April next year, the Scottish Government should insist on contracts that prevent sanctions being implemented.

“Sanctions simply don't work. They do not help people into long-term employment and they clearly contribute to worsening physical and mental health. Scotland has an opportunity to take a different and positive approach.”