THE Scottish Greens have boasted they are “only just getting started” in office as they mark the first six months of their joint government with the SNP.
Despite recent public rows between the parties over freeports and fox hunting, Green co-leader Lorna Slater said she was “delighted” at progress to date.
The Scottish Tories said that, considering their economic policies to date, the country should be “extremely concerned” about the next six months.
Ms Slater, one of two Green ministers alongside fellow co-leader Patrick Harvie, highlighted measures to help tackle climate change and improve the lives of the poor.
She cited the doubling from April of the devolved Scottish Child Payment to £20 power week and the start of free bus travel for under-22s to reduce car use.
She said: “This week marks six months since Scottish Green Party members voted for us to enter government, and I am delighted in the progress that we’ve made in that time.
“The co-operation agreement we signed contained a host of measures to tackle poverty and the climate emergency and we haven’t wasted any time in delivering those.
“Free bus travel for everyone aged 21 and under came into force in January and already thousands of young people have accessed their entitlement. There is no doubt that this policy is good for both family finances and for the climate.
“Doubling the Scottish Child Payment is an extremely important measure, particularly when families are faced with a Tory cost of living crisis, and I am delighted that we have just passed the budget that will deliver this policy from April.
“And we’re only just getting started.”
Tory MSP Liam Kerr said: “The last six months have confirmed what we feared would happen when the extremist Greens were brought into Government.
“They have already shown their influence on SNP Ministers by pushing them towards a harder stance against oil and gas – threatening thousands of jobs and our economic recovery – and punishing motorists.
“As well as being anti-business and anti-jobs, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater have failed to get on top of their portfolios, as the major problems with Heat in Buildings and the Deposit Return Scheme, respectively, demonstrate.
“This is shameless spin from Lorna Slater, and if this is them just getting started, Scotland should be extremely concerned about what the next six months have in store.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson Willie Rennie said: “Six months into the Scottish Greens in government and their most notable achievement is being criticised by Greenpeace for whitewashing the Scottish Government’s environmental record.
“Lorna Slater and her party ought to simply fold themselves into the SNP, there’s not a shred of difference between them.
“The scale of ambition on the part of the two nationalist parties is really lacking.
“Scotland should be aiming to insulate a million homes and deliver hundreds of thousands of new, green jobs. Instead the only jobs that have been created are ministerial posts for Scottish Green MSPs.”
Ms Slater also cited new polling for Survation showing 70 per cent of Scotts thought free bus travel for young people and the Scottish Child Payment would benefit household finances.