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Local Council Elections Preview: Scottish Greens

As we approach polling day for the Scottish Local Council Elections on Thursday 5 May, we'll be reviewing each of the main party manifestos and finding out what they want to achieve at local government level.

We'll focus on what they're saying on issues that affect social workers, including their vision for the National Care Service, tackling poverty and homelessness, implementing the promise and improving mental health services. 

 

Scottish Greens

Current number of seats: 19

The Scottish Green’s local election manifesto is called “Think Global, Act Local”.

The Scottish Greens want to see more action at a local level to meet national and global challenges. They also point to some of their achievements as part of the Scottish Government as evidence of what they can do if given more power at local authority level. They say that “This election is an opportunity for Scottish Green Councillors to play an even bigger role, entering councils that have never benefited from a Green voice before and leading change across Scotland.”

They also highlight that their candidates have set out local manifestos that are relevant to their areas. These can be found at www.greens.scot/ThinkGlobalActLocal

You can read their full manifesto here.

National Care Service

The Scottish Greens don't explicitly mention the National Care Service in their manifesto. They do, however, say that "Green Councillors will ensure that Health and Social Care is delivered locally, with community involvement at its heart, and that staff are properly valued." They go on to call for;

  • Support and enable locally-led social care partnerships and social enterprises, including local disabled people’s organisations, to provide good quality social care. 
  • Ensure that the development and delivery of services is fully informed by the views and suggestions of all service users and unpaid carers.

 

Tackling Poverty

The Scottish Greens have a section on 'Supporting People in Crisis' where they state that "Scottish Greens believe councils have a key role to play in tackling poverty and helping people avoid crisis. Local councils can help tackle inequality and we will prioritise an equalities-led approach, working closely with those whose opportunities may be reduced due to class, race, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief."

They want to 'poverty proof schools' which includes introducing statutory guidance to cap the cost of school uniforms, ensuring all families have access to income maximisation teams, helping low-income households access the social security payments they are entitled to and the expansion of free school meals to older age groups.

They also want to help people to claim the social security benefits they are entitled to with ‘income maximisation’ teams embedded within communities, build community wealth by increasing procurement spending with smaller local firms by 2% every year and to make ethical policies like paying the Living Wage a condition of any council-funded support.

The Scottish Greens add that they want to "Make it easier for those with lived/direct experience of inequality to be involved in making council policy and directly fund equalities and anti-poverty groups where their expertise is needed to support the development or implementation of council policy."

The Promise

The Scottish Greens state that they will "Ensure that local authorities Keep The Promise so that all young people grow up loved, safe and respected."

Tackling Homelessness

The Scottish Greens say that they "We will tackle rip-off housing costs, taking action against rogue landlords, poor property conditions and fuel poverty. We will deliver Rent Controls and our councillors will introduce them locally."

They also "Support the construction of homes built for affordable rent, to tackle the 150,000-waiting list for social housing. This will need land to be available at low cost through a new council power to buy land for housing at ‘existing use value’.  They add that they will "Work to bring Scotland’s 43,000 empty homes back into use."

Another commitment they make is to "Ensure that every person leaving prison, hospital, residential rehabilitation, or fleeing domestic violence is provided with accommodation that meets their assessed needs."

Mental Health

In their section 'Creating a Healthy and Caring Scotland' the Scottish Green state that "Scottish Green Councillors believe everyone has a right to the best physical and mental health, and access to high quality care, which is free at the point of use, maintaining individual freedom, choice and dignity."

They highlight that they will "Ensure that everyone who needs mental health support has access to the right support, at the right time, by providing mental health staff at all GP practices and funding for community-based support groups and activities patients may be referred to."

Support Services

The Scottish Greens want to "Take an evidence-based, public health approach to tackling drug overdose and other addiction related deaths." This includes:

  • At the frontline, support the personcentred approach to addiction with a focus on drop-in services, including drug consumption rooms and crisis centres which are accessible, making people safer and providing holistic support.
  • Ensure that drug users who leave treatment or statutory services, whether planned or unplanned, receive follow-up support.

They also commit to "Campaign to secure funding for support services for those who have experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence.". 

Support for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

The Scottish Greens say that their councillors will "Welcome refugees and asylum seekers into our communities and push to ensure relevant support services are available to meet their specific needs as well as support for people with No Recourse to Public Funds." They explain that they will:

  • Push to take asylum housing and support out of private hands, so it is run by councils in partnership with the third sector, ensuring dignified, safe housing based in communities, not hotels.
  • Commit to discussions across local authorities on how to expand participation in dispersal schemes for people seeking asylum throughout Scotland.
  • Campaign to give people seeking asylum the right to work.