Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party: draft shared policy programme

Working together to build a greener, fairer, independent Scotland.

Economic recovery and infrastructure

In this section:

The Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party are committed to securing a green economic recovery from Covid, investing in restoring our environment and the green technologies and industries of the future to create jobs and build a prosperous Scotland. We will therefore increase public investment in these areas by at least £500m, with a view to mobilising further investment as the parliamentary session progresses. These funds will support a green recovery and will include increasing investment in nature restoration, green industrial development, cutting emissions by improving energy efficiency of homes and buildings.

Conditionality in public sector grants

We believe that public sector funding should lever in wider benefits, such as the promotion of Fair Work and the just transition to a net-zero economy and the elimination of tax avoidance, in order to support the development of a sustainable economic recovery and a successful wellbeing economy over the long term.

We therefore agree to work with employers, unions, local authorities and other stakeholders to ensure that by 2025 conditions are applied to the scoring criteria for all public sector grants, where it is proportionate and relevant to do so under current legislation. These conditions shall also be applied to relevant, tailored non-financial support provided by enterprise agencies.

We agree to ensure that conditionality is both proportionate and effective in delivering real benefits, without placing unnecessary burdens on recipients of public sector grants and support. Appropriate monitoring and evaluation frameworks will be developed and applied to track, ensure progress and to inform changes and updates to relevant guidance. 

We will:

  • introduce a requirement on public sector grants to pay at least the real Living Wage to all employees, subject to limits on devolved competence
  • provide appropriate channels for effective workers’ voice, such as trade union recognition
  • explore all possible options to ensure recipients of public grants do not engage in tax avoidance

We will apply criteria on real Living Wage and channels for effective workers’ voice by summer 2022 and consider how the conditions can be applied to NDPBs. 

We will also consider how we develop conditions for the other Fair Work principles, including opportunity, security, respect and fulfilment. 

We agree that, where appropriate and commensurate, we will include conditions relating to the following important values.

Through the Fair Work First criteria, we will incorporate the principles of the Fair Work Convention including:

  • Effective Voice: appropriate channels for effective voice, such as trade union recognition
  • Opportunity: investment in workforce development
  • Security: such as no inappropriate use of zero hours contracts, payment of the Real Living Wage and no use of unfair fire and rehire practices
  • Respect: Including action to tackle the gender pay gap and create a more diverse and inclusive workplace
  • Fulfilment: Investment in workforce development, support for family friendly and flexible working practices

To support businesses in transitioning to net zero, we will consult on:

  • for large businesses: annual public disclosure of how climate change will affect their business, consistent with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures
  • for large businesses: the role of Just Transition Plans
  • for businesses receiving grant or loan/equity funding of over £500k and for major contracts: a commitment to reduce scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions at a level consistent with Scotland’s 2045 net zero target, including requiring that a published carbon management plan for achieving such targets is made available on the company's website and submitted to the public body providing the funding

We will also consult on how to take forward these proposals in a manner that protects business viability, competitiveness and early stage businesses. We will consult on when we will introduce net zero conditionality as part of our consultation process.

For the purpose of this policy, large businesses are those which employ over 250 people.

We also agree that:

  • the granting of financial and non-financial support by the Scottish Government and those Non-Departmental Public bodies accountable to it will provide additional weighting to applicants who will use the support to reduce emissions, increase carbon sequestration or restore the natural environment
  • we will work with unions, employers and other stakeholders to promote a cross party approach in calling for devolution of employment legislation powers to the Scottish Parliament to consider how to support and strengthen application of appropriate conditions to public sector grants
  • in advance of devolution of employment law, we will press the UK Government to apply appropriate scoring conditions to public sector grants in Scotland under reserved powers

Community wealth building

We will develop a Community Wealth Building Bill, which will focus on encouraging diverse and inclusive local economies, finance, land, and ownership models. It will include:

  • working within and developing procurement practices to support local economies, including Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and micro-businesses, and improved access to training and labour markets for disadvantaged communities and individuals
  • encouraging public kitchens, including school canteens, to source more food produced by local businesses and organic producers
  • where possible, to base public sector capital and revenue funding decisions on targeted social, economic and environmental outcomes

National Strategy for Economic Transformation

The Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party believe that meeting our climate targets and delivering a green economic recovery from Covid, protecting and restoring our environment, and re-orienting our economy towards wellbeing and fair work should be the basis of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

The National Strategy for Economic Transformation will drive Scotland’s economic transformation as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and undertakes a just transition to a net-zero economy.

Transformational change must be a national endeavour and the NSET will draw on recommendations from recent citizens’ assemblies as a way of incorporating the views of the public.

Our vision for Scotland is to create a wellbeing economy: a society that is thriving across economic, social and environmental dimensions, and that delivers prosperity for Scotland’s people and places.

The NSET will plan for investment in the industries of the future and in a just transition to a net zero economy, in line with Scottish Government targets. It will be supported by Just Transition Plans for sectors and regions starting with an Energy Just Transition Plan as part of a refreshed Energy Strategy.

The NSET will represent a coherent Green Industrial Strategy for Scotland, which will be supported by the Just Transition Plans for industry including a vision for reinvigorating Scottish manufacturing and heavy industry, supporting Scottish supply chains and creating high-quality jobs.

The NSET will recognise and explore opportunities to enhance the role of alternative ownership models in the economy.

The Scottish Government and the Green Group in the Scottish Parliament will collaborate on the development of a national strategy for economic transformation to be published by late Autumn 2021 to deliver:

  • a bold, ambitious plan to transform the economy, putting us on the path to meeting our 2030 climate targets, helping restore the natural environment, stimulate innovation, create jobs, improve wellbeing for all, and further embed fair work standards across all sectors of the economy
  • a package of transformational projects that will include addressing climate, the environment, wellbeing and fair work

We also agree that:

  • we will develop a set of wellbeing indicators for Scotland which create a dashboard to monitor and track economic success. The monitor will not only guide economic policy but will also identify barriers to wellbeing and integrate a four capitals approach to make sure that sustainability (environmental, economic, human and social) is embedded
  • we will explore the creation of a new green industrial catalyst fund that will support investment and growth in the green industrial sector
  • we will set out how we will provide tailored support for businesses with alternative ownership models, including cooperatives and social enterprises, with a view to increasing their representation in the Scottish economy

Landfill Tax and the circular economy

The Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party agree to explore the use of Scotland’s devolved tax powers over Landfill Tax to ensure they are consistent with our net zero ambitions.

We commit to reviewing the role incineration plays in Scotland’s waste hierarchy, including the need for new incineration capacity, taking account of all available evidence and recognising that for almost all materials incineration, while generally preferable to landfill in terms of environmental impact, is close to the bottom of the hierarchy.

We also recognise the need to ensure that views of local communities on planned developments are listened to and heard. Consideration will also be given to the role of incineration and fiscal incentives, such as a waste tax, in the context of the planned waste route map and the Climate Change Plan, taking account of all waste targets and supporting a pathway to reducing waste sector emissions.

The Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party share an ambition to advance Scotland’s circular economy, as an essential contribution to tackling the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. We therefore agree to discuss the development of policies to achieve this aim, including extended producer responsibility, potential fiscal incentives, and consideration of what requirements may need to be included in a Circular Economy Bill later in this parliamentary session.

Non-domestic rates

We are committed to a fair and transparent non-domestic rates system, one that is not undermined by avoidance tactics. We commit to using the anti-avoidance powers in the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Act 2020 to assist local authorities in tackling known tax avoidance tactics including when they make decisions on applying empty property relief and charity relief.

We are committed to developing a fiscal framework for local government and the devolution of empty property relief on 1 April 2023.

Citizens’ assembly on local government funding

The Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party believe that an increased use of deliberative engagement with the public will improve outcomes and develop more effective policies and public services. This includes citizens’ assemblies, citizens’ juries and other participatory democratic innovations. The development of a sustainable infrastructure to support effective citizens’ assemblies will include the consideration of the governance, remits and subjects that could be put to an assembly.

We agree that funding local government through Council Tax is an area where inclusive, deliberative engagement would help develop a fairer, more inclusive and fiscally sustainable form of local taxation. Because of the complexities of the system, any participative work should be at both local and national level and should be seen in the context of the broader system of taxes and local governance. Deliberative engagement can start locally, and culminate in a national citizens’ assembly. This would aim to set out fiscally sustainable options, as well as the changes to the current Council Tax system needed to develop this.

We will therefore establish a working group with representation from the Scottish Green Party, engaging with COSLA, to oversee the development of effective deliberative engagement on sources of local government funding, including Council Tax, that culminate in a citizens’ assembly.

The working group would agree joint sponsorship of the deliberative engagement by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party. This will include agreeing:

  • the forms of deliberative engagement to use, at local and national level
  • a trusted governance structure, the scale and scope of the work, including a remit and questions for participants
  • the scrutiny and oversight required to ensure balanced evidence from a range of experts
  • the form of outputs of these deliberative engagements, and roles regarding responding to recommendations

We also agree to:

  • set timescales for the delivery and completion of this work within the current parliamentary session, expecting that the process will require a minimum of 18 months to establish, recruit, deliver and report. Once the report is delivered to the sponsors, we expect that a response to the recommendations would be debated in Parliament and agreed within 6 months
  • commission sortition recruitment to an agreed weighting, and commission an agreed design and delivery of the process
  • consider how this work aligns with broader commitments for an annual citizens’ assembly on as yet undecided topics
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