Scottish Greens pledge to build 12,000 affordable homes and end fuel poverty

Patrick Harvie
Patrick Harvie

The Scottish Greens have launched their 2016 election manifesto, vowing to build more homes, make rent fairer and end fuel poverty.

Published yesterday, the manifesto sets out how the party intends to create jobs through building good homes for all; increase socially rented homes and make fuel poverty a national priority.

Believing that renting should be a positive option, the party said it will push for action to increase the amount of social housing, control rents, increase security of tenure and improve management in the private sector.

According to the Greens, Scotland needs at least 12,000 new social rented homes to be built each year, and thousands more than that just to meet population growth and replace older housing. It plans to enabling councils to buy land cheaply to encourage the construction of more and better homes.

The party also vows to support ways to gradually reduce house prices and to improve the quality of new zero-carbon housing.

Other key manifesto pledges include:

  • Using newly devolved income tax powers to enable those earning less than £26,500 to keep more of their pay, while raising revenue from those on above average incomes to invest in public services.
  • Creating over 200,000 jobs in lasting industries including oil and gas decommissioning, renewables and housing.
  • A Living Wage Plus of 9 pounds an hour for social care staff.
  • A 50 per cent increase the Carer’s Allowance to recognise the value of unpaid care.
  • A guarantee of work, training or education for every school leaver.
  • Scrapping the outdated, unfair Council Tax and phasing in a residential property tax under which most households would pay less.
  • The Greens also want to create a citizen-led constitution, force local governments to include communities in decision making, recognise and protect all genders and sexual orientations in law, and introduce a monthly compensation payment for professional artists.

    Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie, economy and finance spokesperson for the party and MSP candidate for Glasgow, said: “The Scottish Greens have a track record of achievement. In the last session of parliament we pushed SNP ministers for bolder action on everything from land reform and rent controls to fracking and fan ownership of football clubs.

    “With fellow candidates on the campaign trail in recent weeks I have seen how we are tapping into a public appetite for a Scottish Parliament that is bolder in its actions. Our high calibre candidates are ready to get to work in Holyrood, delivering great results for communities the length and breadth of this country.”

    Scottish Greens co-convener Maggie Chapman, social justice spokesperson for the party and MSP candidate for the North East, said: “Our manifesto shows how a vote for the Scottish Greens is a vote for a bolder Holyrood, for a plan to deliver lasting jobs, high quality social care and good homes for all. The Scottish Greens are best placed to meet the challenges of our time.”

    Alison Johnstone, health and sport spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP candidate for Lothian, added: “Our country faces huge challenges, from pressures on health and social care to the scandal of fuel poverty and the threat to communities from fracking. Scottish Greens have shown in parliament and in communities our principled approach and determination to tackle these issues.”

    WWF Scotland welcomed the Scottish Greens’ manifesto commitment to end cold homes.

    Director Lang Banks said: “Their pledge to support all homes to reach a minimum ‘C’ energy performance standard by 2025 would cut emissions, tackle fuel poverty and create thousands of jobs.

    “All the party leaders reiterated their support for the Scottish Climate Act by signing the Climate Leaders’ Agreement late last year. With households across the country wasting carbon heating the cold air outside their homes, it’s vital we improve the energy efficiency of our buildings if we are to meet our climate targets.

    “With a new climate action plan legally required by the end of the year, it’s crucial all parties bring forward policies that will secure the benefits of moving to a zero-carbon economy.”

    The Scottish Conservatives will publish their manifesto later today, with the Liberal Democrats, Labour and the SNP to follow.

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