Greens council manifesto makes affordable homes a priority

Patrick Harvie
Patrick Harvie

The Scottish Green Party has launched its national manifesto for the local council elections, prioritising new homes that are affordable, low-carbon and connected to local services.

Setting out their priorities for the elections at a launch event in Glasgow yesterday, party co-conveners Patrick Harvie and Maggie Chapman centred on the protection of public services such as schools and social care.

The Greens are mounting their biggest ever council campaign, with a record 218 candidates aiming to build on existing councillor numbers in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeenshire, Midlothian and Stirling, and make breakthroughs in many other councils.

The party’s vision for housing is for good-quality homes that are affordable to buy, affordable to rent and affordable to heat. There should be more social housing; better control of rents; and better management in the private sector.

The manifesto pledges that Green councillors will:

  • Help people who rent to create a stable home. Support making information about good letting agencies and landlords easily available, support action against bad landlords and letting agents, and push for rent controls to limit rent rises that would push people out of their home.
  • Continue to campaign to make energy efficiency of existing houses a priority to create warm homes, reduce fuel bills and tackle fuel poverty.
  • Help homeowners to make homes wind and watertight with a trusted not-for-profit service to manage major repairs, including to tenements. Explore more ways to help with the cost of repairs - for example, with 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 27,000 empty homes back into use.
  • Support new housing cooperatives or initiatives to bring rented property into shared management.
  • Support new social rented homes to be built each year – at least 12,000 are needed across Scotland each year just to meet population growth and replace older 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’.
  • Prioritise new housing that is affordable, low-carbon, built on brownfield sites and connected to local services like schools and shops. Support proposals for a local ‘vacant land levy’ to help deliver housing and reduce land speculation.
  • Support action to drive up space standards, designing houses which are easy to adapt for independent living.
  • Explore ways of taking into social ownership facilities like care homes and student housing where their owners cannot continue to manage them.
  • Kim Long, Green candidate for Dennistoun in Glasgow, said: “It’s great that more people than ever will have the chance to Vote Green in these elections. As candidates we’re all dedicated local campaigners. We’re determined to put power in the hands of our communities.

    “Our councils need more Green voices. We will speak up to protect public services, give our schools the resources they need, support our care staff and tackle the housing crisis.

    “Green councillors are renowned for their hard work. Now we need more Green councillors elected in towns and cities across Scotland, working with local residents and putting power back in communities where it belongs.

    “Green MSPs secured an extra £160 million from the Scottish Government for councils to spend on local priorities this year, while other parties’ posturing achieved nothing. Council chambers across Scotland need our bold and constructive approach.”

    Share icon
    Share this article: