SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed Green MSPs will join her government in a “historic” political deal including a £500m energy transition fund.
The agreement includes pledges to help Scotland shift away from reliance on oil and gas, including the promise of a 10-year energy transition fund “for the north-east and Moray”, enhanced environmental protection, action on affordable housing – and a reaffirmed commitment to independence.
It states that the funds will “support and accelerate the transition of the region and support the role of Aberdeen and the wider north east as one of Scotland’s centres of excellence for the transition to a net zero economy”.
Particular focus is to given to development of offshore wind and marine renewables, supported by improvements to port infrastructure
The First Minister was joined by Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater to announce the long-awaited “Bute House agreement”.
It also contains the pledge of increased spending on rail and a shift in wider transport policy.
Ms Sturgeon, speaking at her official residence in Edinburgh, said: “The challenges we face have rarely been greater – the climate emergency, recovery from a global pandemic and an assault by the UK government on the powers of our Parliament.
“Today’s politics can too often feel small – polarised, divided and incapable of meeting the moment – and this agreement is intended to change that in Scotland. It is about doing politics and governance better to find the solutions needed to solve the problems confronting the world today.”
Independence back on the agenda
Ms Sturgeon stuck to her line on reassessing licences for oil and gas exploitation, including Cambo off Shetland.
But she stressed there is an accelerated ambition to transition to “net zero” on energy.
The First Minister invited the UK Government to “match” the north-east spending package.
Ms Slater, speaking alongside the First Minister and Mr Harvie, said: “This deal is about people as well as the planet.
“Together, we would deliver a new deal for tenants, giving tenants more rights and introducing rent controls to help tackle Scotland’s housing crisis, create a new National Park, and much more. That’s why we are pledging to work together to build a greener, fairer and independent Scotland.”
Green party members still to decide
Details were finalised on Friday morning and rubber stamped by Ms Sturgeon and her senior ministers.
Green leaders agreed to the plan and will take it to their wider membership on August 28 for debate.
Both parties avoided being pinned down on plans for power sharing during the election campaign.
But after the vote in May, talks began for what was soon styled a co-operation agreement, short of a full coalition but stronger than an informal arrangement.
Opposition MSPs were slating the plan before the terms were published.
Today Conservatives wrote to Holyrood presiding officer Alison Johnson, who was elected as a Green MSP in May, to limit her old party’s opportunities to quiz the government from back benches.