Responding to the UK budget speech, the Scottish Green MSPs say the Chancellor’s rosy depiction of the economy is not being felt on the ground, with low wages, insecure employment and welfare sanctions continuing to reinforce poverty and inequality in the UK.
The Greens are leading a debate in Holyrood today on in-work poverty, and are campaigning for a £10 minimum wage by 2020.
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, said:
This is not a plan to make the UK a fairer or more sustainable society. Instead of an eye-watering £1.3 billion subsidy for fossil fuels, the Chancellor could have provided a gigantic boost to locally-owned clean energy or backed the return of our railways to public hands.
This Coalition has delivered five years of hacking away at the public good and at the foundations of our welfare state. It’s been a devastating and costly campaign by an elite in Westminster and the prospect of another round should terrify everyone who is fighting for social justice in this country.
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, said:
The Westminster coalition try to paint a rosy picture but what they describe will seem to many like a fantasy economy, far removed from the reality of rising rents, insecure low paid work and the misery of welfare cuts. The Greens want to see a £10 minimum wage and the small rises announced today are completely inadequate in a world of extreme high pay at the top.
Following this, Patrick Harvie used the debate on the economy in the Scottish Parliament on the 26th of March to highlight the urgent need to rebalance the economy by opposing cuts, investing in sustainable industries and creating jobs in every part of the country.
The text of Patrick Harvie’s amendment for this debate is as follow:
Supporting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendment to motion S4M-12776 in the name of Jackie Baillie (Supporting Scotland’s Economy), leave out from “rejects” to end and insert “considers that the UK Government’s austerity agenda is ideologically motivated by those who seek an ever-smaller state and poorer public services as ends in themselves; deeply regrets that the main opposition party in the UK Parliament also remains committed to cuts that will have the same effect; believes that a credible alternative to austerity is available in the form of a programme of green quantitative easing (QE); recognises that, instead of creating money to rebalance balance sheets in the financial services sector, a green QE programme would provide investment in the transition to a sustainable economy; sees many benefits of such a programme, including stimulating the real economy and the creation of jobs in every constituency of the UK, more rapid progress toward social and environmental targets and localised control of economic assets instead of a privatised model of infrastructure investment; believes that Scotland’s economy needs such investment, and considers that this would complement the progress that has been made on the development of renewables and energy efficiency in Scotland.”