Council elections 2022: Windfall tax on oil and gas giants could be used to 'alleviate suffering' of households, Scottish Greens co-leader says
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Ms Slater, who fronts the party alongside fellow MSP Patrick Harvie, echoed calls for energy giants to pay an extra levy on an “unexpected” massive boost in earnings brought about through a post-Covid surge in international demand and volatile pricing.
“They have made record profits at a time when people are struggling desperately to pay their energy bills,” Ms Slater said.
“A windfall tax, properly used, could absolutely be used to alleviate that suffering and put money back into people’s pockets.”
On the final day of campaigning before Thursday’s local authority elections, the MSP, who is also Scotland’s minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity, said “the number one issue for everyone on the doorsteps this year is the cost of living”.
"Everybody is concerned about that,” she said.
Ms Slater insisted her party was helping tackle the problem “in so many ways” at a national level, including free school meals for Scottish primary school pupils and free bus travel for those aged 21 and under.
“We’re doing a lot of work on that in Government, but a lot of the policies will be delivered on the ground by councils,” she said.
Despite existing issues such as the war in Ukraine, problems related to Brexit and rocketing household bills and energy prices, Ms Slater said the environment was still at the top of the agenda.
“The climate emergency and the nature emergency are still with us,” she said.
“Time is still ticking along.
“If we don’t fundamentally change how our society works, they will overtake us.”
The Greens co-leader stressed the party’s message – “think global, but act local”.
“So much of what we need to do to tackle the climate crisis is actually implemented by your town councils – things like improving public transportation, upgrading infrastructure in your streets for safe cycling, walking and wheeling, improving your green spaces, improving recycling and waste-handling,” she said.
“All of these things are right on the nose of what we need to do to tackle the climate crisis and only with Greens in councils can you ensure they will be a top priority.”
Ms Slater also set out her vision for the future as the country – and world – moves to end greenhouse gas emissions and curb climate change.
“We have so much potential in Scotland in our green jobs, in our green energy, in things like our land – regenerative farming and forestry,” she said.
“Scotland can lead the way in so many things, like peat restoration, restoration of biodiversity, liveable town and city centres.
“There are huge opportunities for young people, for people transitioning out of high fossil fuel industries, in things like the land-based economy, the circular economy and, of course, our massive potential for renewable energy.
“The future for Scotland is brilliant.
“We just have to make it so – and voting number one for the Scottish Greens is a big part of that.”
More than 200 candidates are standing for the party this year, compared to 80 in 2012.