Patrick Harvie set to be appointed as minister for tenants’ rights
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie will be formally appointed as minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights following the approval of a working agreement between the Greens and the SNP.
Working with the housing secretary Shona Robison and net zero secretary Michael Matheson, Mr Harvie’s responsibilities will include driving policy changes that shift Scotland away from reliance on high carbon modes of transport and heating and towards greener alternatives – seen as essential as part of the push towards a net zero economy by 2045.
Ensuring fairness during that transformation will also see Mr Harvie lead on delivering a new deal for tenants, and ensuring building standards are fit for purpose.
Fellow Greens co-leader Lorna Slater will take on the role of minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity, working with Michael Matheson as well as the finance and economy secretary Kate Forbes.
Ms Slater will drive a Green Industrial Strategy, helping people access training and opportunities as part of a net zero Scotland, and ensuring the economy is supported through a just transition to net zero.
Supporting biodiversity and protecting our national parks and natural heritage will also form part of Ms Slater’s role, working closely with NatureScot and Zero Waste Scotland and supporting the development of a circular economy that minimises the impact on the natural environment.
A shared draft policy programme - the Bute House Agreement - has been agreed for the next five years and includes plans to implement an effective national system of rent controls, enhance tenants’ rights and deliver 110,000 affordable homes by 2032.
The agreement also sets out plans to invest at least £1.8 billion over this parliamentary session in energy efficiency and renewable heating and to significantly increase the level of the Scottish Child Payment, in order to maximise the impact on child poverty, with the full £20 payment being achieved within the lifetime of the Parliament.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “This historic cooperation agreement is founded in a shared drive to work together in the Scottish Government to build a greener, fairer, independent Scotland.
“We have massive challenges to overcome: a global pandemic and its lasting effects, the climate emergency and the assault by the UK government on the powers of our Parliament. Patrick and Lorna’s roles in government are rightly at the heart of facing up to them, and the expertise and passion they bring with them will contribute greatly to defining Scotland’s path forward in doing so.
“Although our parties do not agree on everything we have been able to compromise on both sides, find common ground and agree on areas where we can work together to build a better country.
“The world has had to adapt quickly to respond to the fast-paced and changing nature of the pandemic but what it has shown us is that we can put politics aside to tackle the challenges in front of us decisively and in a way that delivers. I look forward to working with my new Green Party colleagues in this new and ambitious way.”
Patrick Harvie’s full ministerial responsibilities include:
- active travel
- Future Transport Fund
- energy efficiency
- heat networks
- heating and domestic energy transformation
- building standards
- new deal for tenants
- Future Generations Commissioner
- and serving as a member of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Legislation
Mr Harvie said: “We are at a crucial tipping point in terms of our relationship with the planet. I am thrilled at the opportunity to drive forward policies that enhance peoples’ lives while supporting the urgent goal of tackling the climate emergency as we emerge from the pandemic.”
Lorna Slater’s list of responsibilities includes:
- Green Industrial Strategy
- green skills
- circular economy
- Zero Waste Scotland
- nature recovery targets
- national parks and natural heritage
- plant health
- and serving as a member of Cabinet Sub-Committee on Climate Emergency
Ms Slater added: “Any transition to net zero must be just, and my focus will be on delivering policies that support our workforce and wider economy through that change as well as ensuring our greener future is also a prosperous and fair one that benefits our natural environment.”