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Greens pledge more opportunities for young people in Highlands and Islands


By Alan Hendry

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Ariane Burgess says the Scottish Greens are determined to ensure that 'public transport reaches communities it currently does not'.
Ariane Burgess says the Scottish Greens are determined to ensure that 'public transport reaches communities it currently does not'.

The Scottish Greens have pledged to provide more opportunities for young people in the next parliament, with tens of thousands benefiting in the Highlands and Islands.

Free bus travel for everyone under 22 will come in this year as a result of budget negotiations by Scottish Green Party MSPs in the last parliamentary term. This will benefit over 50,000 young people in the Highland and Islands, they say.

The party will seek to build on that after May 6 by pushing for free travel for rail and ferries too, as well as increasing funding for colleges so they can expand bursaries for 16 and 17-year-olds and reintroduce part-time courses.

The Scottish Greens say they will also increase support for apprenticeships.

Ariane Burgess, the party's lead candidate for the Highlands and Islands region, said: “Free bus travel for young people is a transformational policy, not just for tackling household poverty and the climate emergency but also for opening up opportunities for young people to travel and study.

“The Scottish Greens are determined to build on that, so that public transport reaches communities it currently does not, and are committed to delivering the college places and apprenticeships young people in Highland and Islands will need that public transport to get to.

“We will give college education parity with universities. That means expanding access to bursaries and removing the financial barriers which prevent many people from accessing further education.

"Colleges should be able to offer the flexibility of part-time courses that they used to, so that people can balance them with working. And apprenticeships should come with a commitment to pay the living wage.

“The Scottish Greens will also defend the role of college lecturers. We’ve consistently supported strike action by lecturers resisting the downgrading of their role to 'course instructor' posts. If we want to see a fairer and greener recovery from the pandemic, we need to invest in our young people's futures today."


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