Green manifesto pressures SNP to take more radical approach

Party co-convenor Patrick Harvie launches the Scottish Greens 2016 Holyrood elections manifesto. Picture:  Colin Hattersley
Party co-convenor Patrick Harvie launches the Scottish Greens 2016 Holyrood elections manifesto. Picture: Colin Hattersley
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GREENS are pledging to deliver a “bolder” Holyrood by putting pressure on the SNP to take a more radical approach on issues from tax to housing.

The party’s manifesto set out policies including new tax rates of 43p for those earning £43,000 or more and 60p for incomes over £150,000 a year.

Another proposal is to establish “nutritional targets” for supermarkets – a proposal that would see a levy imposed on large retailers and caterers who “choose to promote too much poor quality food”.

The party wants to create more than 200,000 jobs in green industries such as oil and gas decommissioning, renewables and housing.

Other proposals include enabling councils to buy land cheaply to encourage the construction of more and better homes, and a guarantee of work, training or education for every school leaver.

The plans would also introduce a “Living Wage Plus” of £9 an hour for social care staff and increase the Carer’s Allowance by 50 per cent to recognise the value of unpaid care.

At the launch in Edinburgh, party co-convener Patrick Harvie said: “I am really surprised and disappointed that the SNP are not offering a more radical plan on taxation.”

He said under the Greens’ tax plans, everyone earning less than £26,500 would be better off. Median earners on £27,710 would pay an extra £24 a year, while those on an MSP’s salary of £60,685 would pay £938 more annually.

The manifesto states that the party’s most pressing priorities are improving the economy, care services and housing.

Greens also want to recruit 4000 teachers to tackle unsustainable workloads, guarantee financial support for college students, ban fracking, restore locally-accountable policing and invest in walking, cycling, buses and trains.

Mr Harvie said it was clear the SNP would be returned to government in the 5 May elections and the question was which party would be keeping them under pressure.

He 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.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com