Scottish budget “timid, not transformative”: Greens respond to release of the year’s financial agenda

The Scottish budget has been described as “timid, not transformative” by the co-leader of the Scottish Green Party.

Responding to yesterday’s budget speech, co-leader of the Scottish Green Party, Patrick Harvie, said: “The finance minister must change tack if she wishes to secure our support for her budget.”

Co-convenor of the Scottish Greens Patrick Harvie MSP (Credit:Twitter.com)

The Scottish National Party has relied on the support of the Scottish Greens to pass the budget in the last few years.

Within the 2020-21 Scottish Budget the SNP announced a package of funding to accelerate Scotland’s transition to a net-zero economy, including £1.8 billion of investment in low carbon infrastructure which will help reduce emissions.

Speaking in the chamber yesterday, Harvie criticised the budget.

“I can find no evidence of a shift away from the damaging traffic inducing projects that the government has been supporting up until now,” he said.

Yesterday’s budget speech comes after the release of the government’s public engagement programme about climate change ‘Big Climate Conversation’, which saw the Scottish Greens call for the SNP to start “listening to the public.”

Scottish Green environment spokesperson, Mark Russell, said:
“The Scottish Government need to take on board what we have been telling them. Building a world call, affordable public transform system that busts congestion has to be the top goal.”

SNP MSP, Kate Forbes, during the question and answer session in the chamber yesterday, said that she is “willing to be very constructive. My door is open and I’m willing to listen to all parties.”

Kate Forbes MSP
(credit: Twitter.com)

In a statement by the Scottish Green’s, the party said:

“Scottish Greens have made a number of constructive proposals, which would protect local services and begin to tackle the climate crisis, unfortunately the Scottish Government have so far failed to engage in constructive negations to deliver the transformative change required.”

The Budget will also see a new £120 million heat transition deal and a total investment of £151 million in energy efficiency.
In total, £461.8m will be spent on the environment, climate change and land reform – an increase from £426.6m.

Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change, welcomed the budget:

“Scotland has committed to reaching Net Zero emissions by 2045, five years earlier than the UK as a whole.”

In November, Glasgow will play host to COP26, The United Nations Climate Change Conference.

 

Derek Mackay: John Swinney defends SNP’s handling of scandal involving former finance minister

The Scottish National Party has defended how they handled the breaking story around former Finance Minister Derek Mackay.

The graphic story containing his texts to a 16-year-old boy was released by the Sun newspaper yesterday.

In the wake of Mackay’s resignation, John Swinney released this statement defending the Government’s handling of the scandal:

“The government became aware of these allegations at about 6pm on Wednesday night, and we simply – because of the significance of what was being put to us – asked for information to give us the veracity and the substance of the points that were being put to us.”

“We saw nothing in writing until we saw the first edition of The Sun later on Wednesday evening, so we were simply asking for the detail that we would ask in any situation where allegations are being put to us so that we can be confident about the detail that is being asked.”

Mackay resigned from his position yesterday after the Sun released a report about him sending 270 messages to a schoolboy.

The messages include him calling the schoolboy “cute” and inviting him to dinner.

Now, more accusations of harassment have come out about the ex-minister.

An SNP activist, Shaun Cameron, has claimed that Mackay sent him messages for years during his time as an activist.

After the scandal broke, the other parties in Holyrood were quick to make statements about the recent resignation. Scottish Greens parliamentary co-leader Alison Johnstone said:

“Derek Mackay’s behaviour and conduct towards a 16-year old has been utterly unacceptable.”

“His persistent and unwanted approaches represent an abuse of power, and the impact on the family cannot be overstated.”

“It is therefore entirely correct that he is no longer in his position as finance secretary and suspended from his party. The individual and family must receive all the support that they need.”

Mackay resigned from his position after the scandal broke, just hours before the release of the new Holyrood budget.

04:26

Thank you to all who followed the general election coverage through our website. The Napier News team have enjoyed keeping everyone updated as the polls have been announced.

Tonight’s final summary is that the SNP has a majority over Scotland but the Conservatives are on track to win over the UK.

This will be our last update on the website for now, from what has been an eventful evening.

 

 

 

https://en4news.com/2019/12/13/26913/

02:01

SNP has gained Angus with a majority of 49.2%

SNP- 21,216

Conservatives – 17,421

Lib Dems – 2,482

Labour – 2,051

https://en4news.com/2019/12/13/26830/

Scotland split between minimum and maximum Council Tax increase

All Scottish Councils have decided on their 2019/20 council tax increase; Edinburgh is one of 13 councils to decide on keeping a 3% increase, while those living in Midlothian will see a 4.79% increase, the largest allowed by the Scottish Government.

The 2017/18 Local Government Finance settlement included an agreement between the Scottish Government and local government for locally determined Council Tax increases to be capped at 3%. However, this has been increased to 4.79% after debate in the Scottish Parliament.

council tax

(Credit: Ryan Traynor, contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown Copyright and database right)

The split between 3% and 4.79% is relatively even. 13 areas have opted for 3% and 12 for 4.79%, with only a handful of councils choosing a rate in between.

Band D – the average housing type in Scotland – in Midlothian will have the highest increase with £60.62, taking residents’ annual bill to £1344.

Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee have all opted to stay at 3%.

Reactions on social media have been mixed with some users saying they felt “betrayed” by the 4.79% maximum. Others thought that local government needed more funding, and were happy to pay more tax. More efficient spending was a concern shared by both sides.

As well as the ability to decide their council tax rates, local authorities will be able to charge a transient visitor levy and workplace parking charge.

Devolved benefits roll-out timetable announced

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville announced the timetable for the launch of  new devolved benefits yesterday.

••••• (3).png

Infographic (Credit: Ryan Trayor)

Ms Somerville said: “The timetable I have set out is ambitious but realistic and at all points protects people and their payments. I have seen the mess the DWP has made when transferring people to PIP and introducing Universal Credit, and we will not make the same mistakes.

 

“There is much hard work to be done but the prize is great – a social security system with dignity, fairness and respect at its heart and which works for the people of Scotland.”

SNP: ‘an Independent Scotland should have its own currency’

The SNP has announced it wishes to introduce its own currency within the first few years of leaving the UK, if Scotland were to become independent.

In the new policy the SNP say the pound would be kept initially for a “transition period”.

However the Scottish Parliament will make the decision on when to introduce a new Scottish currency within their first term.

This announcement is far from the policies outlined during the 2014 independence referendum, which suggested Scotland keep the pound in a formal currency union with the rest of the United Kingdom.

This suggestion was ruled out by the UK – an issue which some in the Yes campaign believe may have contributed to the referendum defeat.

27114685685_b89fa96563_b

SNP deputy leader Keith Brown hopes the new currency policy will help gain support for the independence movement (Credit: Scottish Government)

SNP Deputy Leader Keith Brown stresses that although party policy will be to establish a new independent currency, Sterling will remain in place until this can be done “safely and securely”.

 

Alex Salmond in Court: A picture timeline

The Former First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond yesterday appeared at the Edinburgh Sheriff Court where he was charged with 14 offences, two of which included attempted rape.

Salmond did not make any plea but did make a short statement outside the court before returning inside to receive his bail papers.

EN4News reporter Calum Wilson has the full story here.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow Images: Ross Cowper-Fraser

Alex Salmond charged of attempted rape and sexual assault

 

Former First Minister Alex Salmond was arrested on Wednesday evening, January 23, and appeared at Edinburgh’s Sheriff Court at 2PM the following day where he faced the charges of 14 offences in the minutes-long private hearing, without making his plea.

50592088_220935292190542_1910768651489771520_n

Salmond entering Edinburgh’s Sheriff Court (Photo credit: Ross Cowper-Fraser)

The charges were nine counts of sexual assault, two counts of indecent assault, two counts of attempted rape and a charge for breach of the peace.  

Salmond made a short statement to the  media outside the court strenuously denying the charges : “I am innocent of any criminality whatsoever.” 

The former First Minister could not take any questions and said: “I have got to observe the rules of the court and in court is where I will state my case.” 

 

The written statement read: “I co-operated fully with the police. I was released by the police after [the] interview and agreed to attend court today. I have always maintained that I have never engaged in criminality and that remains my position.” 

Police Scotland launched its investigation on Salmond in September last year following the Scottish Government’s inquiry after several complaints of sexual harassment against Salmond.  

After an internal investigation by the Scottish Government, Salmond won a legal battle against them earlier this month after Judge Lord Pentland said that the government’s actions had been “unlawful in respect that they were procedurally unfair” and had been “tainted with apparent bias.”

The former leader had been at the forefront of the Scottish Independence campaign. The referendum results were in favour of no to independence winning by 55%.     

Salmond had stopped to shake hands with two Yes supporters before entering the court.

50558673_296430567891630_5080568427060396032_n

One supporter handed out badges, which read: “I stand with Alex. I would walk 500 miles.” (Photo credit: Calum Wilson)

Alex Salmond resigned as First Minister and SNP leader after Scotland rejected independence in 2014.

 

Nicola Sturgeon rally for IndyRef2 amid Brexit turmoil

First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon announced she is working on plans for a second independence referendum, which will be released “in the coming weeks.”

Sturgeon is waiting for the Brexit chaos seen in the last week to dissipate before making a move on independence. She said she would forward with the plans even if the March 29th Brexit deadline was to be extended.

Fears of leaving the EU had been a common reason for voters to back the No campaign in 2014. Scottish voters had then backed the Remain campaign by 62% in 2015. Despite the support, it mattered little when the UK voted for Leave. This didn’t sit well with Scottish voters and sparked renewed interest in another independence referendum.

In an online post, Sturgeon said: “Scotland cannot be left at the mercy of a dysfunctional Westminster government.”

She added that “the interests of Scotland haven’t even been an afterthought” for the Government during the Brexit negotiations.

The SNP had called on May to extend the March 29th deadline for Brexit to no avail.

Sturgeon said the loss to Scotland neglecting independence has “never been clearer.”

%d bloggers like this: