Wednesday, February 10th, 2016
John Finnie MSP launched the Scottish Greens’ Holyrood election campaign alongside lead candidates from all eight of Scotland’s regions, at Glasgow’s Òran Mór venue on Monday (8 February).
Mr Finnie said electing more Green MSPs would mean a “bolder” Scottish Parliament that would take radical action to ensure the Highlands and Islands get the Green jobs and good homes they urgently need.
The Scottish Greens have published a roadmap to creating 204,000 Green jobs nationwide, including in Highlands and Islands strengths such as renewable energy, oil and gas decommissioning, and forestry. 
The Greens will prioritise housing issues at the election and in the next Scottish Parliament term, pushing for bolder action to make private sector rents affordable and eradicate fuel poverty.
The Highlands and Islands have the fastest-rising rents in Scotland, and all six of the region’s local authorities are in the ten worst nationwide for extreme fuel poverty. 
With a membership that has surged to over 9,000 since the independence referendum, a series of recent polls predicting a successful election, and their biggest campaign ever, the Greens hope to surpass their previous record of 7 MSPs.
In the Highlands and Islands, the Greens are optimistic of re-electing John Finnie and hope to expand their representation by sending Isla O’Reilly to Holyrood to join him. 
Mr Finnie said:
“The Highlands and Islands have a desperate need for sustainable jobs and warm, affordable homes – but we also have the ability to solve those problems.
“Scotland has one quarter of the European Union’s entire offshore wind and marine energy potential. Scotland can generate thousands of jobs while we generate clean energy, but we need to take decisive action to be first into the race.
“We have an unemployed construction industry, with the skills to retrofit houses to end fuel poverty. As part of the Living Rent Campaign, Greens have already shown how rent controls can make our housing better and more affordable. Scotland can be a place where everyone can expect a warm and secure home, if our Parliament is determined to make it happen.
“Scotland can create Green jobs and good homes for all, and to do that we need Holyrood to be bold. There was no shortage of boldness at the Scottish Greens launch, and I can’t wait to work with all these brilliant candidates in Parliament, pushing Scotland forward.”
Ms O’Reilly said:
“This is the biggest campaign the Greens have ever run, and I’m really excited about the momentum that is already building around it.
“With John’s impeccable record as our local MSP, our great team of candidates and campaign organisers, hundreds of branch volunteers and canvassers already active across the Highlands and Islands, and our fresh, ambitious ideas for Scotland, we’re optimistic that May will see the election of a bolder, Greener Holyrood.”
The Scottish Greens’ six campaign priorities announced this morning are:
- Scotland can create 204,000 jobs
With more Green MSPs we can deliver 204,000 jobs in clean, green industries; and we can help small businesses, social enterprises, and employee-owned ventures to flourish.
- Scotland can provide good homes for all
With more Green MSPs we can eradicate fuel poverty; raise standards in private housing; and make private rents affordable
- Scotland can unlock the power in our communities
We can push for real change in who owns and controls land; in community and public ownership of energy; and giving people the same rights as developers in planning decisions.
- Scotland can ban fracking once and for all
We can ensure that Scotland uses its powers in planning to ensure that unconventional gas extraction does not take place beside our homes, our shores and vital agricultural assets.
- Scotland can care for all our people
We can fight for a ‘Carers Wage’ which values people who care for young and old, and we can welcome people fleeing conflict abroad.
- Scotland can guarantee a future for our young people
We can open up college places and apprenticeships, and we can commit to a job, training or education for every school-leaver through a Scotland Guarantee
Notes: For more details, and a link to the Green MSPs report Jobs in Scotland’s New Economy, see: http://johnfinniemsp.org/2015/08/26/green-jobs-plan-promises-renaissance-for-highlands-and-islands/  Rents in the Highlands and Islands rose by 5.8% in the year to November 2015, while Scottish average rents rose by just 0.1%.
Source: Scottish Buy-to-let Index, Your Move, 23 December 2015: http://lsl-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/your-move/uploads/asset_file/151221-November-Scotland-Buy-to-Let-Index-docx.pdf?ts=1450873326619
The ten worst local authorities by proportion of households in extreme fuel poverty (defined as households that would have to spend more than 20% of their income to maintain a satisfactory heating regime) are:
1. Orkney Islands 30%
2. Eilean Siar 26%
3. Highland 23%
4. Shetland Islands 19%
5. Dumfries and Galloway 15%
6. Argyll and Bute 14%
7. Scottish Borders 14%
8. Aberdeenshire 14%
9. Angus 13%
10. Moray 12%
(Local authorities in the Highlands and Islands region in bold)
Source: Scottish House Condition Survey Local Authority Tables 2014, Scottish Government, 28 January 2016: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/SHCS/keyanalyses/LAtables2014 The Scottish Greens candidate list for the Highlands and Islands is:
- John Finnie
- Isla O’Reilly
- Fabio Villani
- Ariane Burgess
- Stephen Sankey
- Anne Thomas
- Donnie Macleod
- Michelle Rhodius
- Topher Dawson
- Iomhar Fletcher