Green party ministers appointed as Scottish Government accused of 'economic vandalism'

Nicola Sturgeon and her SNP Government have been accused of committing “economic vandalism” as the co-leaders of the Scottish Greens were given junior ministerial roles.

The First Minister on Monday announced her intention to appoint co-conveners Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater as ministers, meaning two Green party members are set to enter government for the first time in the UK.

The appointment would be the first time since devolution that a formal co-operation agreement will be in place in Scotland between two parties following an agreement made at Bute House on Edinburgh.

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But the Scottish Conservatives accused Ms Sturgeon of “taking a nationalist gamble with people’s jobs” by bringing the “extremist Greens” into the Scottish Government.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced her intention to appoint two new ministers following the approval of the historic Bute House agreement. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Mr Harvie will be minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights, working with the housing secretary and net zero secretary.

His party co-convenor, Ms Slater, will take on the role of minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity, working with the finance and economy secretary and net zero secretary.

Mr Harvie’s responsibilities will include driving policy changes that shift Scotland away from reliance on high carbon modes of transport and heating and towards greener alternatives as part of the push towards a net zero economy by 2045.

He will also lead on delivering a new deal for tenants, and ensuring building standards are fit for purpose.

Ms Slater will drive a Green Industrial Strategy, helping people access training as part of a net zero Scotland, and ensuring the economy is supported through the transition.

Supporting biodiversity and protecting Scotland’s national parks and natural heritage will also form part of Ms Slater’s role.

Shadow Covid recovery secretary Murdo Fraser said the SNP’s move was “economic vandalism”.

He said: “In the middle of the biggest economic crisis in our lifetime, it’s deeply worrying that Nicola Sturgeon is turning to anti-jobs, anti-business extremists.

"It is pure economic vandalism to hand power to Green MSPs who have admitted they want to limit growth and hold back Scotland’s economy."

But Ms Sturgeon said: “This historic co-operation agreement is founded in a shared drive to work together in the Scottish Government to build a greener, fairer, independent Scotland.

“We have massive challenges to overcome – a global pandemic and its lasting effects, the climate emergency and the assault by the UK Government on the powers of our Parliament.

"Patrick and Lorna’s roles in government are rightly at the heart of facing up to them, and the expertise and passion they bring with them will contribute greatly to defining Scotland’s path forward in doing so.”

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Mr Harvie said: “We are at a crucial tipping point in terms of our relationship with the planet. I am thrilled at the opportunity to drive forward policies that enhance peoples’ lives while supporting the urgent goal of tackling the climate emergency as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Ms Slater said: “Any transition to net zero must be just, and my focus will be on delivering policies that support our workforce and wider economy through that change as well as ensuring our greener future is also a prosperous and fair one.”

Ministerial appointments are subject to formal confirmation and acceptance by Parliament at a vote in Holyrood on Tuesday – and the Queen.

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