Greens conference

False claims being made on housing says Harvie

Patrick Harvie: our policies have helped thousands of people (pic: Terry Murden / DB Media Services)

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie today accused critics of his housing policies of spreading false warnings and said his party’s actions had helped “many thousands” of tenants.

Addressing his party’s conference in Edinburgh, Mr Harvie delivered a stout defence of his controversial rent freeze and housing bill that some landlords, property investors and political opponents have dubbed a tenants’ charter.

They say it is deterring investors and creating a shortage of property that will force rents up.

Amid these claims, Mr Harvie, the Tenants Rights Minister, told delegates gathered at Napier University: “The claims that the rent cap would lead to a reduction in properties available have proven false with the number of rent properties increasing.”

Mr Harvie said his party was committed to a “new deal for tenants to address the imbalance of power in private renting”.

He added: “I know what it is like to be harassed out of a flat by an abusive landlord. I am proud we can deliver that new deal. The rent freeze has helped many thousands over the last 18 months.”

Speaking afterwards to Daily Business, he said his housing policies would provide “stability for landlords and security for tenants”, adding that more needed to be done to ensure there was an adequate supply of affordable homes.

In his conference speech he also called for a “reset” of the Scottish Government’s climate action, saying it is “almost certainly” going to miss the 2030 target for hitting net zero.

“If successive Scottish and UK governments had taken the actions needed I am absolutely in no doubt that we would be on track for that 2030 target,” he said. He accused politicians of “mutual backslapping” every time a new oil and gas well was approved.

He added: “Our opponents are lying if they are saying we just want to shut down oil and gas. It is not a question of switching off overnight. It is about a just transition. You don’t do that by doubling down on an industry coming to its end.

His co-leader Lorna Slater confirmed speculation earlier this year that the Scottish Greens will contest a record number of seats at the General Election.

Its previous record of 31 candidates was in the 2015 General election The party’s list of candidates is currently running at an all time high of 32, with more branches still to select.

Lorna Slater: more candidates in the General Election (pic: Terry Murden / DB Media Services)

To cheers and applause, she told delegates: “We want as many people as possible to have the chance to vote for the Scottish Greens and for our vision. 

“We want as many people as possible to be able to vote for climate action and equality.

“I’m delighted to announce today that the Scottish Greens will be standing more candidates than ever before at the upcoming general election. 

“And here’s why. This UK Tory government is not fit for purpose. It has broken its promises to the people. It has failed in every single duty. It has cost jobs, it has cost lives and it is time for them to go. 

“Labour have already reversed their position on climate action. The Scottish Greens belong in every election, at every level of government, from councils, to Holyrood and beyond. 

“Because people and planet need us. They need us now more than ever. And we are ready to step up and take action.”

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