THE Scottish Greens will today set out plans to improve workers’ rights as the party sets out its stall for the 2021 Holyrood election – hoping to move above Labour into third position.

Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie will deliver a speech at his party’s conference in Edinburgh this afternoon – putting forward his proposals for a green new deal for Scotland.

Mr Harvie will unveil a strategy to empower workers and embed fair work practices in Scotland’s Covid-19 recovery – pressing for all companies who receive public grants in Scotland to recognise trade unions and to pay at least the real Living Wage.

The party will be keen to close the gap on Scottish Labour in May’s Holyrood election. A poll by Ipsos Mori earlier this month projeced the Scottish Greens to win 10 seats next year, just six less than Labour and the same poll put the party just four percentage points behind Richard Leonard’s party in the list vote.

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Support for independence, which the Scottish Greens back, has also soared to record levels in recent months.

Earlier this week, Mr Harvie claimed the Conservatives were “in an absolute panic” about independence – suggesting it “now seems inevitable, that Scotland will choose instead to join the international community, take our seat at the European table, and play a leading role in creating a fairer and greener future”.

Speaking ahead of the new deal launch, Mr Harvie, who is also the party’s finance spokesperson, said: “Now is the time for change, and the Scottish Greens are working for Scotland.

“As we rebuild from the pandemic, and as we approach our last chance to avoid a climate catastrophe, we need to tackle poverty and build an economy that supports people and planet, not those who hoard their wealth in tax havens.”

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He added: “To do that we need to ensure workers get their fair share. We need to create and retain skilled and high-quality jobs in Scotland.

“Our new deal for workers would rebuild the public sector to reverse the erosion of rights, restore wages and the dignity of work and end zero-hour contracts. It would put workers and unions centre stage in driving a transition to a zero-carbon economy and creating quality, unionised and well-paid green jobs.”