Tory policies are bad for the environment, our country and our city - Lorna Slater

Food prices, fuel prices and housing costs are all soaring and without drastic and immediate change the pain will get even worse.
Lorna Slater (Green)Lorna Slater (Green)
Lorna Slater (Green)

The damage that the Tories are doing is bad for our environment, bad for our country and for our city.

Last week’s cost of living announcement wasn’t one that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, ever wanted to make. It was a transparent attempt to shift the focus from Sue Gray’s shocking report into the behaviour of the Prime Minister and the chaos in Downing Street.

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Some of the targeted support packages that he announced were welcome, but they should have been brought in months ago. The reality is that for millions of households it was too little too late.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that inflation could soon hit 14% while the energy regulator, Ofgem, has warned that bills could increase by a further 42% this October. Last week’s statement did nothing to change that.

Nor did it do anything to tackle the climate emergency. The Chancellor may have touted a ‘windfall tax on energy company profits’ but the way it is being implemented will make things even worse. Big energy companies will get a “super deduction” on the windfall tax for every pound they invest in drilling. That’s not a windfall tax, it’s a blank cheque for polluters.

The Tories don’t have any solutions. Their answer is always cuts, austerity and more of the same failed policies that have done so much damage

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The Scottish Greens, SNP and Scottish Labour may not agree on everything, but we all went into this month’s local authority elections promising that there would be no coalitions, pacts or agreements with the Tories. Unfortunately, what Labour have said and what they have done are very different.

Last week Labour councillors rejected the opportunity to work with progressive parties to build a fairer, greener Edinburgh. Green and SNP councillors had come together to produce an exciting and progressive agreement with steps to tackle housing and transport issues, the climate emergency and inequality.

It would have built on the gains that were secured in the last term and offered a positive new chapter for our city in a time of crisis. It was a bold and progressive vision that Labour could have helped us to shape and deliver. Instead, they put constitutional disagreements ahead of local services and made a deal with the Tories to form an administration.

Many people across our city voted Labour in good faith. They will be shocked to see their councillors lining up with the Tories. It is not just in Edinburgh, it is also in Stirling, Fife and other local authorities across our country.

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Whether it is in Westminster, the Scottish Parliament or our town halls, the Tories cannot be trusted with our environment or our services.

With Greens in government, we are showing the positive impact that we can make when progressive political parties work together. We are not just talking about change, we are delivering it.

Our councillors will never cut deals with the Tories or offer them positions of influence or power.

Instead, they will do what they have always done. They will work for people and the planet and will do so with parties and councillors who share their progressive ambitions. They will put their communities ahead of constitutional tribalism and do everything they can to protect our services, build a green recovery and secure the change that Scotland needs.

Lorna Slater is a Lothian Green MSP and Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity

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