I could begin by stating that COVID-19 has exposed the deep-rooted flaws in our economic and social security systems, but this would be clichéd and inaccurate. The pandemic only exposed these flaws to those who had previously been able or willing to ignore them. For those with lived experience of poverty, there was no great revelation of how unequal our systems are.
Far too many people are less than one paycheque away from homelessness, reliant on foodbanks and trapped in poverty by systems designed to maximise the profits of those at the top, at the expense of everyone else. The pandemic sent this inequality into overdrive, pushing many families deeper into crisis while the richest got even richer.
We will only change this by electing leaders willing to stand up to the rich and powerful. The crises of poverty, poor health and climate are all linked, and so must our solutions be. On this, the Scottish Greens have a strong record of delivery. In the last five years our MSPs’ achievements have included:
- A ban on tax-avoiding companies receiving public money
- Covid support payments worth up to £330 for half a million low income households
- Free school meals for all primary pupils, to be phased in over the coming year
- Reforming income tax so that most pay less whilst the rich pay more
- Free bus travel for everyone under 22 from this summer
- An eviction ban during the pandemic to protect renters.
Of course, we want to go even further, including by scrapping the outdated and unfair Council Tax system, extending free bus travel to everyone under 26 and other groups, setting up publicly-owned bus companies, implementing rent controls, properly regulating private landlords and building another 84,000 homes for social housing
We know the most effective way to help families out of poverty is to put money in their pockets, which is why we will:
- Require companies in receipt of public grants or contracts to recognise trade unions, ban precarious contracts, and pay at least the real living wage.
- Double the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per week and accelerate the roll-out
- Immediately increase the Carer’s Allowance top-up to £105 a week and double the young carers grant
- Secure the powers to introduce a Universal Basic Income pilot and ahead of this, examine the feasibility of a Scottish Minimum Income, which would establish a minimum income standard
- Support the transition to a four-day week with no loss of pay
And we will fund these ambitious programmes through a wealth tax on millionaires.
The Scottish Greens are the only party with a recovery plan which meets the scale of the climate emergency whilst building a fairer economy and society. We will tackle the climate crisis by 100,000 quality jobs in green industries, such as the construction of warm homes and the expansion of Scotland’s railways.
Green votes deliver real results. With your support on May 6th we can do so much more. Vote like our future depends on it, vote Green.