Scottish Green Party launches general election manifesto

Co-convener Patrick Harvie with fellow candidate Lorna Slater
Co-convener Patrick Harvie with fellow candidate Lorna Slater

The Scottish Green Party launched its general election manifesto yesterday, promising to fight for the principles of truly affordable homes, with rent controls and better rights for tenants.

Putting the creation of a low carbon economy as the foundation of future prosperity, the party said it will create a government-led Green New Deal to invest in green industrialisation to deliver the affordable homes, transport and energy needed for a low-carbon future.

It will invest in warm homes for all, with a nationwide insulation programme, and in a Green Industrial Strategy to build resilient national and local economies.

The manifesto, entitled Our Future Is Green, pledges that “everyone deserves a good home”, therefore the party said it will reinstate housing benefit for under-21s, and help first-time buyers by aiming for a gradual reduction in housing costs.

The Greens would also axe buy-to-let tax breaks, reduce VAT on repairs, and back community-led approaches to building affordable homes.

On welfare, the party said it will abolish the “family cap”, the “benefit cap” and the “bedroom tax”, and reverse cuts to the social security safety net brought in by Conservative welfare reform acts.

It will end the “punishing” sanctions regime, halt the roll-out of Universal Credit and allow the Scottish Parliament to design a scheme that works with greater devolution of social security powers. In the longer term, a universal basic income will build a welfare system that removes the stigma of benefits, helps end the “poverty trap” and promote equality.

Co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP is one of three candidates the party is fielding in next week’s election.

He said: “Scotland needs a Green voice at Westminster. During the next parliament, a huge number of the social and environmental protections which have been achieved within the European Union will be transferred to the UK, where many Conservatives are openly calling for a bonfire of regulations. This will literally put people’s lives on the line.

“Greens led the way in achieving much of what’s now at risk, from capping bankers’ bonuses to controlling toxic chemicals. We need a Green voice to stand up for these protections.

“We also need a Green voice to oppose the UK government’s cuts agenda and its failure to invest in the new, sustainable economic future we need.

“We have a plan to create over 200,000 high quality jobs for Scotland in the new economy. And we will make the case for a social security system based on a Universal Basic Income, to guarantee dignity for everyone and end the fear of poverty.

“We are running a tightly-focused campaign, giving Scotland the best chance it has had to send a Green voice to Westminster. We are making the case no other party is for the sustainable, fair and decent society we know this country can become.”

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