The last two months have been very busy, but they have also emphasised the impact of Greens in government. This week my colleague Patrick Harvie published a set of proposals that would see the largest expansion of tenants rights since the creation of the Scottish Parliament.
This package of measures, which is open to consultation, includes new protections for tenants and new rights to decorate, keep pets and make houses into homes. This is particularly important here in Lothian where far too many people are living in unaffordable and insecure housing.
This week I was very proud to announce the Scottish Government’s plan for transforming gender identity services. This laid out our plans to put trans people at the heart of decisions about their healthcare while reducing waiting times to bring them in line with national standards.
The Scottish Greens will always stand in full support and solidarity with our trans siblings and the wider LGBTQ+ community, especially when they are being targeted by a cynical hate campaign by large parts of our media and far too many politicians.
We are starting to really see the benefits of the cooperation agreement that we negotiated with the SNP. In the last month I have also been delighted to announce one of the biggest investments in recycling for a generation, a ban on some of the worst single-use plastics and the first translocation of beavers in Scotland! None of this would have been possible without your support.
Over the last month I have visited Linlithgow and Dunbar to meet with local candidates and discuss campaigns for next year’s local elections. I have been very impressed by both visits and hope to build on these in the months ahead and do what I can to ensure we elect a record number of Green councillors. I am intending to make more local visits in the new year.
At Holyrood we have expanded our team with the appointment of Chloe, a new part time caseworker, to support my local team. As some of you will know my casework office Kayleigh O’Neill has been selected as a candidate for Forth Ward in Edinburgh and I’m really looking forward to helping her to be the first ever Green councillor for the ward.
Over the coming weeks you may receive a newsletter in the mail about my work in the Scottish Parliament. There are stricts limitations on what we can include in these, but I hope that it will help in the lead up to the local elections. Numbers were quite tight but we have managed to secure deliveries in all of our target wards in Lothian.
I want to thank all of our Edinburgh councillors who have done so much over recent months. My parliamentary team have been really grateful for your suggestions, your support and your hard work for constituents. You have been a credit to the party and your record will be a key plank of our local election campaigns. I also want to thank Gavin Corbett who has been appointed as a Special Advisor to our government team. You will be a big loss to the Edinburgh Council group but your experience will be invaluable in making change in Holyrood and beyond.
2021 has been a historic year for our party. I want to thank you for everything you have done for our movement over these last 12 months. It has been a long journey for us to get here. It has taken the work of generations of activists, brought together by a desire to do things differently.
In May you delivered a record result and have propelled us into government for the first time. I know that I speak for the whole parliamentary team when I say that none of the changes we are making would be possible without your hard work. Thank you again.
I know that it has been difficult. None of us wanted the year to end like this. It has been a very hard time and we need to ensure that the Scotland we rebuild is one that is fairer and greener than what we had before.