The Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party Parliamentary Group have agreed to work together over the next five years to ‘build a green economic recovery from Covid-19, respond to the climate emergency and create a fairer country’.
A shared draft policy programme, the Bute House Agreement, has been agreed and focuses on areas of mutual interest to improve the way Scotland is governed and create a stable platform to meet the challenges Scotland faces.
It details collaboration on the climate emergency, economic recovery, child poverty, the natural environment, energy and constitution, and includes commitments to:
- Hold a referendum on Scottish independence after the Covid-19 pandemic has passed, within the current Scottish Parliamentary session (2021-2026).
- Increase investment in active travel and public transport, including a ‘Fair Fares’ review to provide a realistic and affordable alternative to car use.
- A strengthened framework of support for the marine renewables and offshore wind sectors.
- Take forward a ten-year £500m Just Transition Fund for North-East Scotland and Moray.
- Significantly increase the level of the Scottish Child Payment, to maximise the impact on child poverty, with the full £20 payment being achieved within the lifetime of the Scottish Parliament.
- Designate at least one new National Park by the end of this Parliamentary session.
- Enhance marine environmental protection.
- Implement an effective national system of rent controls, enhance tenants’ rights and deliver 110,000 affordable homes by 2032.
- Invest at least £1.8bn over this Parliamentary session in energy efficiency and renewable heating.
- Establish two new Scottish Government overseas offices in Warsaw and Copenhagen to promote Scotland’s interests in Central Europe and the Nordic countries.
Alongside the draft policy programme, the draft co-operation agreement sets out the way in which the Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party will work together.
This will include the nomination of two Green MSPs to be Scottish Government Ministers.
The co-operation agreement also lists a number of areas that are outwith the scope of the agreement, where both sides have agreed to differ.
The draft agreements were endorsed by the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) National Executive Committee at the weekend, while members of the Scottish Green Party will decide next weekend.
Ministers will provide an update to the Scottish Parliament following recess, which ends on 29 October.
Commenting, First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon said:
“I am delighted that the Scottish Government has reached a ground-breaking agreement with the Scottish Green Party that meets the challenges and opportunities of our time.
“The challenges we face have rarely been greater, the climate emergency, recovery from a global pandemic and an assault by the UK Government on the powers of our Parliament.
“Today’s politics can too often feel small, polarised, divided and incapable of meeting the moment, and this agreement is intended to change that in Scotland.
“It is about doing politics and governance better to find the solutions needed to solve the problems confronting the world today.
“The spirit of co-operation and consensus building is very much in keeping with the founding principles of our Scottish Parliament.
“We do not agree on everything, but we are coming out of our comfort zones to focus on what we do agree on.
“The agreement delivers bold policy action on pressing issues. A commitment to more affordable housing, a better deal for tenants and action to tackle poverty and inequality.
“Steps to accelerate our transition to net zero, more support for active travel, transformation of home energy and a ten-year transition fund for the North-East of Scotland. A focus on green jobs and fair work, and a sustainable recovery from Covid.
“We also reaffirm in this agreement our shared commitment to securing independence for Scotland and to giving people the right to choose our country’s future through a referendum.
“It recognises that business as usual is not good enough, we need boldness, courage and a will to do things differently. That is what we offer.”
Co-Leader of the Scottish Green Party, Patrick Harvie said:
“This is a historic moment, which could not come at a more important time.
“We must build a fairer and compassionate country and we must do everything in our power to tackle the escalating climate and nature emergencies to deliver a just transition for all. That is what this deal will do.
“Fundamentally, this is a new approach to politics. We agree on some things and disagree on others, those distinctive voices can and will remain.”
Scottish Green Party Co-Leader, Lorna Slater added:
“The stakes could not be higher, with the COP26 Climate Conference coming to Glasgow, Scotland is in a position show real leadership on climate.
“But this deal is about people as well as the planet.
“Together, we would deliver a new deal for tenants, giving tenants more rights and introducing rent controls to help tackle Scotland’s housing crisis, create a new National Park and much more.
“That’s why we are pledging to work together to build a greener, fairer and independent Scotland.”
At the Scottish Parliament election held in May, the SNP won 64 of the Parliament’s 129 seats, leaving the SNP one short of a majority, while the Scottish Greens finished on eight seats.
Also, this will be the first time that the Green Party has been in government anywhere in the UK.
PSE will be hosting a Public Sector Decarbonisation event on 9 September. Join us for the full day event by registering here.