March 9, 2019 Blog, Conference 2019

Claudia Beamish MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Climate Change – Speech to Conference 2019

09 March 2019

Claudia Beamish MSP

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Climate Change

Speech to Conference


Chair, Conference,


As we have heard throughout this debate, our communities are suffering under austerity, and need Scottish Labour leadership to help them flourish and move to a fair and vibrant future.


For our communities to flourish, we need a holistic approach – sustainable development – defined in the Bruntland Report and recognised across the world as: “development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”


Our Labour responsibility is to create support and funding that enable workers, communities, cooperatives, and municipalities to work together for everyone’s prosperity.


That is why we must win power at Holyrood – making Richard Leonard our First Minister – and at Westminster – making Jeremy Corbyn our Prime Minister.


When planning how to support present and future communities for success, we must tackle climate change fairly. There will be a transformation – and Labour is leading it.

I am proud that Scottish Labour has committed to a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the very latest, as well as a robust interim target.

How can the SNP and Tories excuse their lack of ambition?

When school children are striking – afraid for their future

And voices in the global south ring loud – afraid for their tomorrow.

Stepping up for climate change is literally a fight for survival. The survival of our planet.

Failing to act would unforgivable.

Of course, realising this ambition fundamentally needs the voices of trade unions, experts, NGOs and our communities to guide it.

Comrades – let’s create together the seamless fusion between sustainable communities and sustainable jobs.


I recognise the Just Transition Partnership has already done significant work.

The SNP Just Transition Commission is only for 3 years, showing a fundamental misunderstanding of the concerns of workers and communities.

In an amendment to Scotland’s Climate Change Bill, I will demand the Just Transition Commission is put on a statutory, long term and properly funded footing.

The Commission is for oil and gas workers… and must also be for manufacturing, transport, farmers, fishermen, coastal, urban and rural communities, and beyond.

The Just Transition Commission remit must include –

  • shaping of an initial and transferable skills strategy for sustainable, unionised jobs,
  • assessment of the best ways to support businesses to grasp opportunities,
  • assessment of appropriate environmental levies and their likely impacts – negative and positive.


There will be a Climate Change Challenge paper issued once the Climate Change Bill is passed. This will enable us all to shape our climate commitments and vision for a sustainable future for our 2021 Scottish Parliament manifesto.


Scottish Labour has been unshifting in its support for local communities and for their environmental rights.

My Fracking Bill proposal has helped push forward the SNP so that our communities are protected from onshore fracking’s many impacts.

Ban fracking – No ifs, no buts.


We need to involve people in helping shape places across Scotland where people want to live – and this means:


  • Improving our air quality – the SNP record on this not only pitiful but illegal. The key to this is better transport options – reliable public transport, affordable low emission vehicles, and safe active travel infrastructure.


  • This will be part of the equation of developing green spaces for all to enjoy safely – enabling people to exercise, improve their mental health, and feel proud of their bit.


  • And we must support local government and public institution pension schemes in the drive for divestment – into ethical and local re-investment.


And to community empowerment – urban and rural.

We need broader options for land ownership – for local energy systems and community projects.


With 430 owners still possessing half Scotland, is land ownership for the many, not the few?  Not under the SNP.


Land is as much in need of redistribution, as are other forms of wealth and power.  This is a Land Justice issue.


I ask everyone to take part in shaping the future of our communities – rural, urban, coastal and mountainous – by responding to the Scottish Policy Forum questions.


Let’s together create a communities section of the Manifesto for the many, not the few.