Scottish Greens stand for democratic renewal as party launches council manifesto

Scottish Greens launch manifesto for democratic change with record candidates on the council ballot 

THE SCOTTISH GREENS launched their national manifesto for the local council elections today (Tuesday 11 April), in Glasgow, pledging to focus on the protection of public services such as schools and social care from austerity and centralisation.

Before the launch, the local elections have been geared up as the Scottish Greens’ biggest ever council campaign with a record 218 candidates standing.

Key areas of the party’s manifesto commit the party to the addressing of classroom sizes, cheaper and more frequent bus services and affording housing among other local priorities.

"Our councils need more Green voices. We will speak up to protect public services, give our schools the resources they need, support our care staff and tackle the housing crisis.” Kim Long

Kim Long, Green candidate for Dennistoun in Glasgow, said: "It's great that more people than ever will have the chance to Vote Green in these elections. As candidates we're all dedicated local campaigners. We're determined to put power in the hands of our communities.

"Our councils need more Green voices. We will speak up to protect public services, give our schools the resources they need, support our care staff and tackle the housing crisis.

"Green councillors are renowned for their hard work. Now we need more Green councillors elected in towns and cities across Scotland, working with local residents and putting power back in communities where it belongs.

"Green MSPs secured an extra £160m from the Scottish Government for councils to spend on local priorities this year, while other parties' posturing achieved nothing. Council chambers across Scotland need our bold and constructive approach."

"Green MSPs secured an extra £160million from the Scottish Government for councils to spend on local priorities this year.” Kim Long

Last month a poll by the agency Ipsos MORI showed that the Greens in Scotland are catching up in terms of support with the Scottish Labour who have seen their numbers fall to around 14 per cent. This accounts for a doubling in support in the polls since the Green’s showing at last year’s Holyrood elections. Ipsos showed the party holding eight per cent of first preference votes, ahead of the Liberal Democrats and four times the support they received in the 2012 local elections.

At that time the Scottish Greens fielded just 80 candidates and secured 14 councillors.

In a dig towards the Scottish Tories, Allan Faulds a local council candidate for Victoria park ward, said that: “Local candidates that make the council elections about the constitution are doing a disservice to their constituents.” The Tories in Scotland are currently placing the majority of their campaigning strategy on the idea of being the only party that can “stand up for the Union and our shared bonds” and “stop the SNP’s single track obsessions with independence.”

“Local candidates that make the council elections about the constitution are doing a disservice to their constituents." Allan Faulds

Other points in the manifesto focus on ensuring teachers and support staff lost to cuts are replaced, a ‘Living Wage Plus’ of £9.20 per hour for social care workers, introducing a broadband action plan for every council within a year of being elected and protecting precious green and open spaces.

Patrick Harvie, the party’s co-convenor in front of the gathering in Glasgow added: “We want people not to see local governance as something remote and done to them but something they can be part of and that works for them. Scotland is in need to a renewed sense of democracy through local politics and the Greens can contribute.”

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