Alison Johnstone MSP & Andy Wightman MSP
This is a report to you, our Party colleagues, focusing on our work as MSPs in recent weeks.
To keep up with our work from day-to-day, you can follow us via our social media pages, and the Party website:
- The consultation for Alison’s member’s bill is now open, aiming to deliver a real fox hunting ban with no loopholes, and providing effective protection for foxes and hares. Information about the proposals is here, and a link to the consultation is here. Alison’s proposals were highlighted in many press outlets, including the Herald, as the League Against Cruel Sports criticised the law on fox hunting. The Sunday Post also reported Alison’s comments, and calls for an end to Mountain Hare Culling, as Open Season got underway at the start of August.
- Andy commented on polling that shows 84% of Scots support tax on holiday let landlords, and was quoted in a Times article exposing that 1-in-10 central Edinburgh homes is now listed on Air BnB. Previously, trade groups slammed the SNP and Conservatives for torpedoing tougher planning laws for commercial short-term lets, and other attempts led by Andy to amend the Planning Bill. More information here.
- Alison responded to new figures showing the impact in Scotland of child limits to Tax Credits.
- Andy’s comments on the restrictions placed on access to key public amenities were highlighted in the National, while the Scotsman covered Andy’s comments on the lack of a legal basis for charging or excluding anyone from an enclosure at Inverleith Park during Foodies Festival.
- Alison met with the Liberton Association to discuss areas under threat of development, and how the Green MSPs can support the community.
- The Woodland Trust wrote about Andy’s amendment to the Planning Bill, meaning that authorities must now identify and protect woodland of high conservation value in the form of a forestry and woodland strategy.
- Following questions from Alison, the Scottish Government revealed information about the unrestricted and unmonitored killing of wildlife in Scotland, with the RSPB and others calling the current general licence system in Scotland unfit for purpose. This Ferret article has more details.
- Andy wrote in the Scotsman about the need to think differently about media ownership, and to put the future of our free press on a more stable and secure footing.
- Alison wrote in the Evening News on why councils must stop spraying our towns and cities with hazardous chemicals.
- Alison and Andy spoke at the conference for Revive: The Coalition for Grouse Moor Reform, with Alison describing grouse moors as “a stain on Scotland’s reputation as a progressive country”.
- Andy wrote in the Scotsman about how ‘farms’ that aren’t really farms get paid millions in subsidies.
- Having consistently backed calls for a child benefit top-up, Alison responded to the update on Scottish Government efforts to tackle Child Poverty, urging ministers to ensure that all those eligible for the new Scottish Child Payment are able to claim it.
- Andy has written to the First Minister following yet more examples of apparent raptor persecution, to express anger & dismay that after 20 years of the Scottish Parliament, iconic wildlife continues to be persecuted – often it appears as part of an organised criminal endeavour. Chris Packham and others have also spoken out.
- Alison responded to the Transport Secretary’s statement on the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland, with the Scottish Government’s own target of 10% of everyday journeys being made by bike by 2020 nowhere even close to being achieved. Further coverage here.
- With new independent research showing that the Scottish Greens have secured £428 million additional funding from the Scottish Government for local government since the last election, Andy commented on the need for an overhaul of how local government is funded.
- In a Ministerial Statement on transvaginal mesh implants, Alison questioned how a reintroduction of mesh operations could even be under consideration.
- Andy was quoted in the Evening News amid calls for new rules on tenements, as masonry falls in Edinburgh quadrupled over four years.
- The National quoted Alison in their story about a project offering women mental health and addiction support on the condition that they agree to go on long-term contraception.
- Andy criticised the Scottish Government’s “steady-as-we-go” approach to homelessness, saying that we must remind Ministers that behind statistics are real people’s lives in need of help.
- Alison asked the Scottish Government what action it is taking to reduce the number of empty homes.
- Andy responded to reports that the Scottish Government is failing to meet targets to boost the number of affordable homes for rural and island communities.
- Alison joined campaigners from Freedom From Torture, a grassroots charity providing medical and psychological care for survivors of torture, to hear more about their Cycle Against Torture ride, covering 865 miles from Hastings to Edinburgh.
- Andy is quoted in this article about rewilding, with calls from experts for a more holistic approach than current disjointed efforts.
- Alison urged Lothian Buses bosses to respond to concerns, after drivers voted for strike action over a “hostile” workplace culture.
- Andy is quoted in this article looking at twenty years of the modern Scottish Parliament.
- Alison spoke to the National about Tory leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt’s suggestion that he would repeal the ban on fox hunting in England and Wales.
- Andy was among the elected representatives given an opportunity for a ride on the new LNER Azuma trains – the first new trains introduced for the route between Edinburgh and London in more than three decades.