Scottish Greens seek citizen's wage, halt to oil drilling and Trident …

A stalker drags off a stag on the Black Mount estate, Argyll and Bute, Scottish Highlands

A stalker drags off a stag on the Black Mount estate, Argyll and Bute.

Scottish Greens want heavier taxes on big landowners in an independent Scotland. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

The Scottish Green party1 is to press for a cap on North Sea oil2 drilling, a citizen’s wage and a new tax system that targets high earners and big landowners if Scotland3 votes for an independent Scotland. The party, the second-largest party in the official pro-independence campaign Yes Scotland, said it believed that a yes vote in next year’s referendum could allow the country to introduce radical reforms of the economy, public services and the tax system.

Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens’ co-convenor and senior member of the Scottish parliament (MSP) at Holyrood, said: “Greens are not nationalists; greens are brought together by a different agenda, by a recognition of the astonishing, unprecedented challenges, not just as a country but as a species, we are facing in the 21st century.” The party’s Green Yes4 campaign has been launched 12 days before the Scottish National party (SNP)5 government in Edinburgh unveils its white paper on independence; a hefty document that will set out Scottish government proposals on key issues such as welfare, taxation, defence, the currency and energy6. Harvie sought to downplay the white paper’s significance, insisting that a yes vote would not give the SNP the mandate to introduce all those policies before an independent Scotland is established in April 2016.

He added: “Greens will work hard for a yes vote, but Greens know we have an even harder job to do and we have to work even harder after a yes vote in order to maintain the momentum for the political changes required in Scotland.” He said the white paper was simply the SNP’s manifesto and should not lock the Scottish parliament into introducing all its policies if there was a yes vote; insisting that the SNP would then need to win the 2016 Scottish elections before enacting it. That position lead to further accusations of confusion from the yes campaign’s opponents, since the Scottish government wants to begin substantive and binding negotiations with the UK government on establishing an independent state within days of a yes vote.

While the Scottish Greens want a new independent currency for Scotland, those talks would decide whether Scotland and the UK would form a sterling currency union, which in turn would give the Bank of England control over Scotland’s monetary policy and influence over its tax, borrowing and spending policies. It is expected there would be further legal agreements on pan-UK energy policy, shared welfare and pensions arrangements, deals on financial services and banking, and a defence policy7 that would include joining Nato8 a policy which the Scottish Greens reject. But Harvie and other senior figures in the Scottish Greens said a yes vote would give Scotland the freedom to introduce far more radical policies, and allow the first independent parliament to decide whether Salmond’s plans for a 3p cut in corporation tax would be accepted.

The independence white paper is expected to agree that alternative policies are possible after future Scottish elections. The Scottish Greens, the country’s fifth-largest party, only has two MSPs at Holyrood and 14 local councillors around Scotland. It believes their active involvement in the Yes Scotland campaign will greatly increase their visibility and support among centre-left voters.

The Greens said Scotland could resist European Union9 demands for an independent Scotland to join the euro10 rather than establish its own new currency: legal experts believe that this would policy would be impossible, since EU treaties require new member states to sign up to the euro11. The Greens will press instead for a new land tax to replace council tax, which would penalise supermarkets that buy up land but fail to use it. It would cap North Sea oil exploration to protect the climate but plough oil taxes in the interim into funding green energy projects, including a new state-owned renewable energy company.

It would also overhaul the tax and benefits system to introduce a guaranteed “citizens income” for every adult of 12,000 to 15,000 to replace current tax credits, welfare payments and state pensions to tackle poverty and fund student living costs or grandparents caring for grandchildren. There would be a heavy stress too on tackling inequality for women and far cheaper childcare. These measures would be partly funded by higher taxes on the rich and on corporations, and on cuts in defence spending and removing Trident12 nuclear weapons13 from the Clyde.

A spokesman for the pro-UK Better Together campaign said the Scottish Green manifesto raised problems for Yes Scotland, which is increasingly using the Scottish government’s proposals as the model for its arguments in favour of independence, sidelining the Greens and other left-wing parties in the Yes Scotland coalition. “It is clear that the yes coalition is falling apart,” a spokesman said. “After today, the yes campaign can no longer assert that we can keep the pound, remain in Nato or all of the other things the SNP regularly claim. They should update their campaign material to make clear these divisions immediately.

“Whether it’s on currency, Nato or corporation tax, the Greens are turning their back on the SNP.”


  1. ^ More from the Guardian on Green party (
  2. ^ More from the Guardian on Oil (
  3. ^ More from the Guardian on Scotland (
  4. ^ Green Yes (
  5. ^ More from the Guardian on Scottish National party (SNP) (
  6. ^ More from the Guardian on Energy (
  7. ^ More from the Guardian on Defence policy (
  8. ^ More from the Guardian on Nato (
  9. ^ More from the Guardian on European Union (
  10. ^ More from the Guardian on Euro (
  11. ^ EU treaties require new member states to sign up to the euro (
  12. ^ More from the Guardian on Trident (
  13. ^ More from the Guardian on Nuclear weapons (

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Scottish Greens seek citizen's wage, halt to oil drilling and Trident …

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