The Bute House Agreement is an important new development in Scottish politics. It represents a new model of co-operation in government. It brought Green politicians into government for the first time anywhere in the UK and signals our shared commitment to working together to build a greener, fairer and independent Scotland.
The SNP Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party share the common goal of improving the lives of all who live in our country, and to protect and enhance our society and natural environment for the benefit of future generations. The Bute House Agreement commits us to an ambitious programme to meet those challenges and to grasp the opportunities of our time.
These challenges are enormous: the climate and nature emergencies, the beginning of the recovery of our public services and society from the Covid-19 pandemic, and the unfolding of the disastrous consequences of the exit from the EU. And they have only become greater since the Agreement was signed, with the cost of living crisis intensifying, the prospect of a recession on the horizon, the growing impact of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, and the uncertainty created by the complete absence of a functioning UK Government. The Agreement was reached to equip us best to deal with challenges like these, because we believe that new ideas and new ways of working are required to deal with new problems. An unstable world needs more co-operation and more constructive seeking of consensus if governments are to be equal to what the people need of them.
When we signed the Agreement we spoke about the importance of trust, a willingness to be challenged and a readiness to step out of our comfort zones. That commitment to responsible and stable government is demonstrated in this report. In its first year the Agreement has delivered a legislative programme of 16 bills, an approved Budget, a Resource Spending Review and has seen work begin on a number of longer-term reforms, as well as delivering for households, communities and businesses.
In addition, much of the last year has involved the continued management of and recovery from the Covid pandemic as we slowly and carefully lifted restrictions and began the work of restoring and improving public services impacted by the pandemic.
This progress has come from detailed and constructive engagement between all Scottish Ministers and the MSPs of the Scottish Green Group. We are grateful to all of our colleagues for their commitment and hard work over the course of the year. The foundations laid in the last year will enable us to make progress for the people of Scotland over the lifetime of this Parliament.
The Agreement and the co-operation between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party have also enabled the government to respond quickly and effectively, within the limitations of the devolved settlement, to the cost of living crisis.
Our approach contrasts sharply with that at Westminster and in the UK Government where seeking common ground is so often undermined. Since the Agreement was made, we have also seen the Welsh Labour Government and Plaid Cymru enter into a Co-operation Agreement – despite their different views on the constitutional position of Wales. The cross-party working provided for in the Bute House Agreement is commonplace in other European countries. Our Agreement shows what can be achieved by working together and we remain open to working with other parties where it is in the best interests of citizens across Scotland.
We are united in our belief that Scotland should become an independent country and assume our place among other modern European nations and globally within the wider family of independent countries. We believe that the people of Scotland should decide what is best for the future of our country and we will continue to do everything we can to make this to happen. At the same time, further attempts to diminish the powers and responsibilities of the Parliament, and Scottish self-government, will be resisted firmly by both the Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party.
As this report sets out, in our first year in partnership we have achieved a lot. But there is much more we must, can and will do. Our shared ambition and commitment to delivering a greener, fairer and independent Scotland is stronger than ever.
Rt. Hon. Nicola Sturgeon MSP
First Minister of Scotland
John Swinney MSP
Deputy First Minister
Lorna Slater MSP
Co-Leader of the Scottish Green Party
Patrick Harvie MSP
Co-Leader of the Scottish Green Party
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