This week the BBC’s Jamie McIvor caught up with Alison to ask her views on Greens in local authorities. Alison, one of three Green councillors in Edinburgh, has served Meadows and Morningside since 2007 and is standing down at the election in May.
Hear Alison’s thoughts on the Sunday Politics Scotland, this Sunday (18 Mar) on BBC1 some time between 12.30 and 1.30.
Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie has today revealed that five of Glasgow’s eight Citizens Advice Bureaux have begun closure procedures. It follows a decision by Glasgow City Council to award the contract for advice services to a consortium which did not include the bureaux.
Despite assurances from the council that the decision would mean no closures, no redundancies and no reduction in service the new contractors have failed to issue the five bureaux with a viable sub-contract.
They have no alternative but to close their doors to the people of Glasgow when their current contract finishes on 31 March. This is despite demand for advice in the city never being higher.
The CAB offices affected are in Easterhouse, Parkhead, Pollok, Bridgeton and Castlemilk.
Patrick Harvie said:
“I recently visited the CAB in Bridgeton and saw the great job the staff and volunteers provide in these stressful times. What an absolute shambles they have had to endure thanks to the city council. Forcing voluntary groups to compete to provide a vital, free public service was a ludicrous idea to begin with. Officials seem to be washing their hands of it, which is appalling behaviour. I have raised the matter in Parliament and will be calling on the Scottish Government to find a way to help the staff and protect their clients.”
“I am angry that that those who are making these decisions have seen fit to throw away the skills, expertise and experience of the CAB advice teams – especially at this critical time when so many Glaswegians are being hit by the recession and changes in the welfare and benefits system.”
Frank Mosson, Manager of the Bridgeton CAB, said:
“The new contractors who said they would subcontract to us haven’t indicated any arrangements. We’re alarmed at the lack of information at this late stage and have no choice but to begin our formal closing up procedures.
“It’s been a very stressful time for the staff and volunteers at the CABs and we’ve done our best to maintain the important service we provide. Money worries are a massive issue for lots of people in Glasgow right now and this messy arrangement will certainly affect the service available in the city, affecting those who need it most.”
Scottish Greens are confident Donald Trump’s misinformed views on wind energy will be demolished if he accepts an invitation to appear at a Scottish Parliament inquiry.
The Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, which is to hold an inquiry into the Scottish Government’s renewable energy targets, has agreed to invite the billionaire developer to give evidence.
Committee member Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie said:
“The reality is Scotland can lead the way on renewables, creating jobs and protecting our environment. It appears that Mr Trump has no interest in these objectives.
“His bizarre and irrational rants do him and other anti-wind campaigners no favours. I am confident if he accepts the invitation any argument he puts forward will be flattened.”
Following the tragic death of a second cyclist this year on Edinburgh’s roads, Lothian MSP Alison Johnstone has called for a dedicated cycle safety summit to bring together key authorities and road users.
Lothian’s Green MSP Alison Johnstone said:
“My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the cyclist killed yesterday on Edinburgh’s roads.
“There have now been 16 cyclist deaths and many others injured since 2000 in Lothian region, almost all involving another vehicle. Cycling is a generally safe activity, and the best way to improve safety is to get more people on their bikes to form a critical mass on the roads.
“However, it is clear that we need a radical rethink of how we design our streets to make them far safer for cyclists and pedestrians. I am calling for a cycle safety summit for the capital to be held as soon as possible to see what changes can be made to make Scotland a leader in cycle safety. We can and must do more to minimise the chances of another tragedy on our roads.”
Scottish Greens are criticising an SNP government consultation for using renewable energy as a ‘gloss’ to hide damaging plans for incinerators and nuclear power.
Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie said:
“The transition to low carbon energy is vital for Scotland, and will benefit the environment, jobs and the Scottish economy. However we mustn’t let the renewables agenda distract us from the Scottish Government’s other energy ideas that will damage the environment and people’s health.
“Despite the SNP’s rhetoric on Zero Waste, this policy statement says incineration can play a role when communities across Scotland are mounting vocal campaigns against such plans. It says there is a ‘significant role’ for imported bio-mass; in other words shipping wood from abroad just to burn it. And despite the SNP manifesto stating opposition to large scale bio-mass, this policy statement reveals ministers are ‘not categorically opposed’ to it. This will sound alarm bells among many communities.”
“Perhaps most worrying is the statement that the Scottish Government remains happy to extend the life of our existing nuclear plants rather than taking the opportunity to consign them to the past. Ministers can pose in front of wind turbines all they want but they are letting down future generations of Scots who could have a truly Green future.”
Scottish Green MSPs today backed Scottish Government proposals for minimum pricing on alcohol but questioned the way the drinks industry is controlled by a handful of rich corporations.
In the last parliament Greens were the only opposition party to support the government and vote for minimum pricing. Greens have always recognised it is not a magic solution but rather one practical action that can benefit public health.
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, said:
“We were happy to support minimum pricing again today but urge all parties to consider how else we can improve our often unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Labour’s proposals such as limiting caffeinated alcoholic drinks are worth exploring.
“We also need to challenge the dominance of the drinks industry by big firms whose focus will always be profit. Scotland should instead champion the growth of small, independent brewers who benefit their local economies and use local ingredients to create quality rather than quantity.”