Councils can help build our communities and create the places and neighbourhoods where we live. Green Councillors want them to be safe, green and attractive places. We will help to connect people with a thriving local economy and strengthen neighbourhoods with good services and celebrations of local identity.
Scottish Greens will keep pushing councils to take an approach to decisions, policy and funding which amplifies the voices of people with the most expertise on how to make our towns, cities and communities fairer for everyone
Since 2017 Green Councillors have:
Protected housing for all
- Declared a rent crisis in Glasgow, putting tenants in charge of leading housing reforms, and setting up a Tenant-led Commission to lead private rent reforms.
- Delivered action on empty homes in Edinburgh and Glasgow, successfully bringing hundreds of houses back into use.
- Ensured that ‘affordable housing’ in Edinburgh is genuinely affordable for those on low incomes and, with other parties, delivered a two-year council rent freeze during the pandemic.
- Enabled local progress, in Edinburgh and the Highlands, on limiting second homes and short term lets prior to national legislation.
Led urgent action on the climate crisis
- Successfully called for a new Road Safety Action Plan in Edinburgh, with a commitment to Vision Zero (a policy which aims to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on our roads), and added a focus on environmental and green principles into the economy strategy.
- Passed a motion for Greening the Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival, to reduce its reliance on gas power and single-use plastics.
- Increased recycling investment for flats and tenements in Glasgow.
Stopped climate-damaging investment
- Supported the Churchill Barriers as a vital economic artery for Orkney.
- Helped secure a new future for Gorgie City Farm in Edinburgh, including over £100,000 in funding and additional support.
- Ensured the reopening of Glasgow’s libraries, museums and local venues after vital community-led campaigns.
Championed sustainable transport
- Ensured that all 40 km of Spaces for People cycle routes in Glasgow will be made permanent, opposing car-centric developments and moving Glasgow closer to becoming the first city in the UK to ban drive-throughs.
- Ensured footway widening and segregated infrastructure would be considered on all road resurfacing projects in Edinburgh, which has led to the installation of new cycle and footpaths.
THRIVING LOCAL ECONOMIES
Scottish councils spend billions of pounds each year, directly into the local economy. But too often this money provides profits to big companies rather than investment for our communities, small local businesses and the third sector. Scottish Greens believe a thriving local economy is one based on what's good for people, not profit. Our economy should be sustainable, connect people with decent jobs and help to bind our society together.
Green Councillors will:
- Take a Green New Deal-inspired approach to procurement, oppose capital investment in outdated, carbon-intensive infrastructure, and instead invest in sustainability and climate target projects - for example, by retrofitting homes to be warm and affordable to heat or supporting businesses in the circular economy
- Build community wealth by increasing procurement spending with smaller local firms by 2% every year. Make ethical policies like paying the Living Wage and environmental responsibility a condition of any council-funded support
- Support Close the Gap’s Equally Safe at Work Employer Accreditation Programme to advance gender equality at work and prevent violence against women in the workplace
- Support more social enterprises, cooperatives and employee-owned businesses through public procurement and access to publicly owned property
- Tackle rural and island fuel poverty, making it a high priority for councils, developing local fuel partnerships and encouraging renewable and local wood fuel initiatives
- Encourage shops and post offices in local high streets, rather than chain stores or out-of-town development.
- Support credit unions and local banks that understand the local business community.
- Offer alternatives to high-interest payday lending and invest savings in the local economy.
- Support payroll deduction savings schemes that allow council workers to save with credit unions
- Support the better use of data by councils, to identify issues like households under-claiming their entitlements and make it easier to claim one benefit on the basis of entitlement to another - for example, automatically giving a school clothing grant if the family claims free school meals.
- Support community buy-outs and asset transfers, and increase the availability of grants, loans, financial advice, training, and other assistance with setting up small businesses, cooperatives or other social enterprises with a focus on green jobs.
AFFORDABLE WARM HOMES FOR ALL
Our vision for housing is for good-quality homes that are truly affordable to buy, affordable to rent and affordable to heat. There should be more social housing, better control of rents and better management of the private sector.
Green Councillors will:
- Endeavour to limit the numbers of Short- Term Lets, including through the new Short-Term Let licensing schemes, by introducing Control Areas and further actions as required.
- Help people who rent to create a stable home by making information about good letting agencies and landlords easily available, supporting action against bad landlords and letting agents, and pushing for rent controls to limit rent rises that could push people out of their homes.
- Promote better engagement between Registered Social Landlords and tenants and work to make housing services and processes clear for people who have language and other access needs. Support new housing cooperatives or initiatives to bring rented property into shared management.
- Make energy efficiency of existing houses a priority through establishing comprehensive and fully funded local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies to create warm homes, reduce fuel bills and tackle fuel poverty.
- Establish a trusted not-for-profit service to manage major repairs, including to tenements, grants for low-income households, interest-free loans, or options to defer paying repair costs until the property is sold.
- Work to bring Scotland’s 43,000 empty homes back into use.
- Support the construction of homes built for affordable rent, to tackle the 150,000-waiting list for social housing. This will need land to be available at low cost through a new council power to buy land for housing at ‘existing use value’.
- Facilitate community-led housing projects, particularly in rural areas, and connect communities to financial support through the Remote, Rural & Islands Housing Fund.
- Prioritise new housing that is affordable, meets net-zero standards, is built on brownfield sites and is connected to local services, public transport and active travel routes. To help deliver housing and reduce land speculation we will push for a local ‘vacant and derelict land levy’.
- Support action to drive up space standards and design houses which are easy to adapt for independent living.
- Explore ways of taking facilities like care homes and student housing into social ownership.
- Support measures to protect heritage buildings and extend conservation areas.
STREETS FOR PEOPLE
Our streets should be part of neighbourhoods and communities we can enjoy and be proud to call home. Streets within our cities, towns and villages need to be transformed, placing peoples' needs at the heart of our approach to transport and urban design, turning car-dominated places into spaces where people have priority.
Green Councillors will:
- Deliver 20-minute neighbourhoods, where essential services can be accessed locally, creating liveable towns and cities.
- Extend 20mph speed limits within residential areas and town and city centres by 2025 and seek to lower 40mph speed limits to 30mph to improve road safety, reduce air pollution, and give the streets back to communities.
- Seek to introduce low emission zones in town centres and carbon-free city centres, as well as introducing local authority targets for reducing carbon emissions from transport.
- Working with Greens in Government we’ll direct record investment into local walking, wheeling and cycling projects.
- Reallocate road space to people and support the creation of low traffic neighbourhoods so that walking, wheeling and cycling are prioritised and made more attractive and safer.
- Deliver more ‘Safe to School’ initiatives, aiming to ensure that every child who lives within a two-mile route from school is able to walk, wheel or cycle there safely.
- Introduce a Vision Zero approach for road safety, which will significantly reduce (and aim to eliminate) deaths and serious injuries on our roads, and work with Greens in Government to fund road safety teams in all local authorities to make this happen.
- Work with communities to help prevent anti-social behaviour, tackle gender-based violence and improve community connections.
- Improve public space lighting and accelerate the roll-out of LED lighting, including nature-friendly lighting.
- Seek local community input, giving priority to women, disabled people and other marginalised groups, to identify where spaces could be better lit, redesigned or activated to reduce risk.
- Take an equalities approach to road and path maintenance, including maintenance and winter weather treatment of footways and cycleways that are particularly important to marginalised groups.
- Engage with the public on investment in public art to revitalise our shared spaces.
LEISURE, RECREATION, ARTS AND CULTURE
People and communities connect through council services like libraries, community centres and sport facilities. Festivals and gala days help us celebrate our local area and identity
Green Councillors will:
- Work to protect libraries and support their role as community hubs and guarantee funding for libraries for the life of the council term and ensure no decisions are made to cut core library services without full local consultation.
- Explore the potential for libraries to develop as climate action hubs, providing access to repair skills training, recycling advice, seed banks, tool sharing and other services.
- Quantify and promote the economic contribution of the creative economy.
- Work with cultural organisations to understand how councils can best support the whole sector, rather than ‘picking winners’ from competitive funding rounds.
- Improve accessibility to sport facilities.
- Support grassroots sporting activities, such as running clubs, and ensure provision of low cost ‘community-use’ sports facilities for hire at affordable rates.
- Oppose the closure of local leisure facilities and the selling-off of common good assets.
- Support community-led festivals and events.
- Protect and enhance Scotland’s museums and galleries, keeping general admission free whilst exploring new ways to raise funding and enhance people’s experiences.
- Support the call for a new national museum of slavery, colonialism, migration and empire, and the ongoing strategic work to both recognise Scotland’s history and tackle the legacy of racism that continues today.
- Support the introduction of a Transient Visitor Levy in appropriate tourist areas.
- Support and show solidarity with the LGBT+ community and their right to live free from fear and harassment, including seeking safe spaces for the community to gather and providing support for community organising.
- Increase support for Gaelic-inclusive tourism, culture and events.
- Support cultural ventures in all the languages of Scotland, encouraging use of Gaelic, Scots and Doric as well as languages of people from minority ethnic backgrounds.
- Provide access to council services in Gaelic and other community languages, including phone lines and translated web pages, and support Gaelic signage across the transport network, including road signs, on trains and buses and at transport hubs.