We will make a clean break from austerity to create a more equal society and job-rich economy.
Scotland has a vast resource of creative and productive people. We will work to ensure we all have access to satisfying, secure and rewarding work. Rather than prioritising growth at all costs, Greens believe that economic policy should also take quality of life into account – things such as our health, our relationships, our rights and our sense of community.
We will increase the Minimum Wage to the Living Wage, because nobody should be expected to work for a wage that keeps them in poverty. We will raise the minimum wage in steps, with a target of £10 an hour for everyone by 2020. To tackle the worst pay inequality we will link directors’ pay to a multiple of their lowest paid employees.
We will defend workers’ rights to collective bargaining and roll back anti trade union laws. We will work to end discrimination in the work place through strengthening legislation and education. No-one will be forced into the insecurity of a zero-hours contract and access to employment tribunals will once again be free to workers.
In too many workplaces we see unacceptable pay inequality, abuse of tax loopholes and poor treatment of employees. In such circumstances we will develop rights for employees to cooperatively manage and own their companies.
Green Jobs and Enterprise
We need a transition to a jobs-rich economy which respects the environment and provides for us all. We will deliver a government-led Green New Deal to invest millions of pounds in sustainable jobs and enterprise.
We will support sustainable expansion in industries such as great quality food production, clean chemical sciences, digital and creative industries, medical and life sciences, construction, energy efficiency, engineering and the low carbon energy industry. We will back independent small retail, tourism and sports, waste reuse and recycling, civil shipbuilding, textiles and design.
Small businesses are the foundation of our economy and we can create an economic revival and thousands of jobs by focusing on rural and urban small business growth.
We will support start-ups and an inclusive economy by tapping everyone’s potential. We will invest in apprenticeships, colleges and universities, and invest in research and innovation. Retail and financial services will always be important parts of our economy, but Scotland deserves an economic strategy with a sustainable industrial core providing good quality jobs in the real economy.
Equality not Poverty
In order to ensure a fairer and more equal society, Greens believe that the universal approach to benefits must be defended. We will roll back welfare cuts founded on false claims that people prefer benefits rather than rewarding work. We will abolish the Bedroom Tax and Workfare, lift the punitive sanction regime, halt the roll-out of Universal Credit and allow the Scottish Parliament to design a scheme that works with new devolved social security powers.
In the longer term we will build a welfare system which removes the stigma of benefits, helps end the ‘poverty trap’, recognises unpaid work and promotes equality. A Citizens’ Income is emblematic of this approach. A Citizen’s Income will require a reform programme replace almost all benefits apart from disability payments with a simple regular payment to everyone – children, adults and pensioners. The beginnings of this system already exist with state pensions and Child Benefit.
Banks and Finance
The banking system must serve everyone, and do so fairly. To this end we will encourage a variety of financial institutions, including mutuals, credit unions, and local or regional banks. Banks should focus on sustainable investment and not casino-style speculative activities.
Banking and finance regulation should be well resourced, restricting speculative credit creation, excessive bonuses, aggressive marketing, market dominance by a small number of large players, and the marketing of high interest payday loans.
Restrictions on credit union lending will be eased, enabling them to compete with big banks. We will support the creation of small local banks with a centralised, efficient infrastructure. A National Investment Bank will be created to invest in activities benefiting all of Scotland’s communities while respecting ecological limits.