Scottish Budget: How green is Scotland's Budget?

“The future of our planet” demands a net zero society, finance minister Kate Forbes told MSPs as she pledged a total of £2 billion in Thursday’s Scottish Budget to tackle the climate emergency.

Scottish Greens co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie during their party's Autumn conference in October.
Scottish Greens co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie during their party's Autumn conference in October.

Ms Forbes confirmed a package of measures aimed at decarbonising Scotland, from the first £20 million allocation of ten year Just Transition funding for the North East and Moray to see investment put in to alternative jobs for oil and gas workers, while £123 million will be invested in protecting and restoring nature, woodland creation and the sustainable management of Scotland’s woodlands.

She also pledged £336 million for energy efficiency, and low carbon and renewable heat in a bid to cut emissions, make homes warmer and tackle fuel poverty, as well as £23.5 million for the Green Jobs Fund and a record investment of £150m in infrastructure to make walking, wheeling and cycling safer.

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A total of £60 million will be dedicated to large scale heat decarbonisation projects, while £1.4 billion will be put towards maintaining, improving and decarbonising Scotland’s rail network.

The Budget was hailed by the Scottish Green Party, which is in coalition with the Scottish Government and has two ministers in government in key roles aimed at focusing on Scotland’s transition to net zero, as “the first step” towards a green recovery from the pandemic.

Delivering the Budget to Holyrood, Ms Forbes said: “Let no-one be in doubt, this Government – working in partnership day in, day out with the Scottish Greens – is absolutely committed to meeting our statutory climate change targets and delivering the net zero society we not only want, but need, to see. The future of our planet demands it.”

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie, minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants' rights, said that the billions pledged to tackle the climate emergency and rising poverty levels, came “thanks to the influence” of the Scottish Greens in government.

He said: “The Scottish Greens in Government are working for Scotland. This budget delivers progress on key Green policies to tackle the climate emergency.”

Scottish Greens co-convenor Lorna Slater is minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity.

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