14 May 2013
As members of the PCS public services union stage a fresh strike over pay and pensions, Patrick Harvie, MSP for Glasgow, is urging ministers to show a different approach to the UK Coalition.
Union members will rally outside the Scottish Parliament tomorrow (15 May) and the Scottish Greens will once more show support for strong public services by refusing to cross the picket line.
Patrick Harvie said:
“Ministers are maintaining a real terms pay cut for workers delivering the public services we all depend on. They like to blame cuts from Westminster but the truth is they have the power to take a different approach.
“PCS members fighting for fair treatment can be assured of the support of the Scottish Greens. I hope MSPs from other parties consider joining us in taking a principled stand on this important issue.”
14 May 2013
Alison Johnstone, MSP for Lothian and a member of Holyrood’s economy committee, is urging the UK Government to consider breaking up the Royal Bank of Scotland in light of continuing massive bonuses and links to environmental destruction.
The taxpayer-backed bank faces shareholder rebellion at today’s AGM in Edinburgh over £607 million of staff bonuses despite losses of £5.2 billion.
Meanwhile RBS has been named as the world’s seventh-biggest financial backer of mountaintop removal. It has invested hundreds of millions of pounds in US companies which have used explosives to extract coal from over 500 mountains in recent years.
“It seems RBS have learned nothing from the crash. While it’s right they rebuild so we can recoup some of the cash we gave them it’s wrong of them to continue with a grossly inappropriate pay and perks structure.
“They say they encourage ‘corporate responsibility’ among clients involved in trashing the environment. What a load of meaningless jargon.
“The public owns this bank and if the Government had any common sense it would look at breaking it up, redirecting its energies to support small businesses, reflecting the public’s needs and aspirations. Sadly the UK Coalition is so in thrall to the City any change would be glacially slow and microscopic in scale.”
13 May 2013
Lothian MSP Alison Johnstone – a qualified athletics coach and former competitive runner – is backing the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games ticketing strategy.
Two-thirds of tickets will be priced at £25 or less with half-price concessions for children. The price of a ticket will also include use of public transport.
Alison, a member of Holyrood’s cross-party group on sport, said:
“I welcome these ticketing arrangements for Glasgow 2014, which are more fairly priced than the Olympics. It’s important as Scotland prepares to welcome the world we don’t forget to make the Games as accessible as possible for all Scots.
“The sheer excitement of being at world-class events undoubtedly inspires. We must make sure once we’ve cheered on fellow Scots we have facilities and training programmes that capture that enthusiasm. We want a legacy that isn’t purely ticket stubs.”
8 May 2013
Responding to today’s Queen’s Speech, the Scottish Greens said its focus on tougher measures on immigration was a distraction from the Coalition’s failure to strengthen the economy and reduce poverty.
Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said:
“The UK Coalition is dancing to a reactionary tune on immigration. They want to distract voters from their failure on the economy and their assault on the poor and the vulnerable.
“The priorities of Westminster seem a world away from the interests of most Scots. This speech signals the need to convince more Scots of the benefits of taking control of our own affairs.
“Scotland, with all its skills and resources, could truly strengthen its economy and improve standards of living. The Coalition’s failure to prioritise jobs in green industries shows they are stuck in the past.”
7 May 2013
Green MSPs are backing calls by charity Shelter Scotland for a system to regulate letting agents, but are urging the Scottish Government to take bolder action to make life better for tenants.
Patrick Harvie, Glasgow MSP said:
“It’s high time that letting agents were held to meaningful standards for the services they provide both to landlords and to tenants. The Scottish Government has been slow to act as more people turn to private renting. Ministers must do much better than they did with the toothless landlord registration scheme. Private tenants deserve a bigger and bolder package of measures to tackle issues such as rent increases, harassment and poor standards of energy efficiency.”
Alison Johnstone, Lothian MSP said:
“Groups such as Edinburgh Private Tenants Action Group have been leading the way in fighting against illegal fees and bad practice by a minority of letting agents. We need to bring all the players in the city up to some strict minimum standards so that both tenants and landlords get a decent service.”
3 May 2013
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and co-convener of the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party group on cycling, says the government’s announcement of almost half a million pounds for a marketing campaign to encourage “mutual respect” between cyclists and motorists misses the point.
“I’ve long said we need to see a culture of tolerance so we can share road space safely. Mutual respect between people on bikes and people in cars is essential but it needs to be matched with meaningful improvements in infrastructure.
“A lot of frustration could be avoided if we made cycling a mainstream consideration when repairing or upgrading our roads, both in our towns and cities and in rural areas between communities. Awareness-raising has a role to play but I’d rather this money was spent on the infrastructure that would make a real difference to the daily commute.
“In two weeks thousands of people are expected to Pedal on Parliament in the hope that the Scottish Government has listened to the growing calls for investment in cycling. By throwing money at yet another media campaign it’s hard not to conclude that ministers are still missing the point.”