This year, the focal point of the Green Party is building a greener Scotland. Under the leadership of Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie, the manifesto header “Our Common Future” highlights this years plans to increase investment in our country. This will primarily be done through increasing taxes for the wealthy, in order to achieve the goal of “building a better future for all of us over the next five years”.
The Greens hope to make higher education more widely accessible, to do this they will “remove financial barriers to education”, whilst following the guidelines of the ‘Commission on Widening Access’. This will implement measures to allow “Scotland’s universities to oppose the marketisation of Higher Education and to distance themselves from the mechanisms such as the Research Excellence Framework, Teaching Excellence Framework, and other artificially competitive funding mechanisms”.
Additionally, a “suspension on interest payments on student loans during maternity and paternity leave to tackle the additional costs which overwhelmingly fall on women” will be implemented . There will financial aid introduced to support struggling students throughout the summer by way of a “national hardship fund”.
There is also good news for international students. The Greens plan to “place pressure” on the UK government to broaden the ‘post-study work visa programme’. This would allow international graduates with further options to reside in Scotland to pursue their chosen field after they graduate.
An extra year of SAAS funding will also be made available, if a student should require it. This comes as due to the pandemic, many disadvantaged students with external commitments such as care or childcare, may have been required to repeat a year of study. The Greens promise that “any student who needs it will be entitles to the SAAS finding and support required to do so without cost”
Feature image credit: Scottish Greens