Cooperation agreements can vary widely, ranging from limited trust and supply agreements (where a party helps the government seek government confidence and government spending) to broader agreements that include the subordinate (smaller) party in ministerial positions. In general, “cooperation agreement” refers to an agreement between a ruling party and another party that lags behind a formal coalition. The Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Parliamentary Party (`the Greens`) have concluded a cooperation agreement. This cooperation agreement is the first of its kind since devolution in Scotland. Green co-chairs Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater will become government ministers under the agreement. In 2007, after exploring the idea of a coalition with the Lib Dems, the SNP signed a “cooperation agreement” with the Greens, but its scope was limited. The new agreement takes cooperation between the SNP and the Scottish Greens to a new level. Despite reaching a confidence and supply agreement with the SNP in 2007-2011, the Scottish Conservatives (who bizarrely described the new deal as “anti-family”) will be the only major party that has never participated in a formal power-sharing deal at Holyrood. The cooperation agreement document sets out the overall approach to cooperation as well as the operational modalities of cooperation between the Scottish Government and the Greens. In addition to the draft political programme, the draft cooperation agreement sets out how the Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party will work together. This includes the appointment of two Green MPs as scottish government ministers. The cooperation agreement also lists a number of areas outside the scope of the agreement where the two sides have agreed to be different. The parties say their deal will lead to a “greener, fairer and more independent Scotland”.
And indeed, the SNP has gone further than ever on green issues. However, the SNP is well aware of its net zero commitments and is likely to have moved in that direction anyway. Boris Johnson is fighting in Westminster. Earlier this month, a new climate report confirmed the severity of the crisis. Still, officials fear it`s gone too late to get the world`s worst polluters to cut their greenhouse gases in order to meet the Paris Agreement`s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. After initially refusing to give Sturgeon a seat at the Cop26 negotiating table, the Prime Minister must spit feathers in the way she has shone a spotlight on her government at her expense. The Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Group have agreed to work together over the next five years to build a green economic recovery from COVID, respond to the climate emergency and create a fairer country. “This political agreement is unprecedented in Scotland and even in the UK. The agreement therefore requires a tailor-made response here at Holyrood, based on precedents and practices, fair to all parties represented in Parliament and meeting the requirements of rigorous parliamentary scrutiny.
There are glimmers of hope for those who want to find them. Before the deal was announced, but under pressure from the Greens, Sturgeon called on the prime minister to review existing drilling permits in light of the climate emergency, although she did not explicitly oppose drilling the Cambo field off Shetland. In New Zealand, key players spoke of the need to build trust and continue the conversation. Taken literally, the draft agreement seems to recognise the importance of this, with structures designed to reassure the Greens that they are active partners and not appendages to strengthen the Scottish Government`s position. The most important of these is the “no surprise” rule, which ensures that both parties are kept informed of all developments, and a seat on the Cabinet subcommittee on legislation. “The agreement provides for bold political action on pressing issues. A commitment to more affordable housing, better provision for tenants and measures to combat poverty and inequality. Steps to be taken to accelerate our transition to carbon neutrality – increased support for active travel, home energy conversion and a ten-year transition fund for the North East of Scotland. The focus is on green jobs and fair work – and a sustainable recovery from COVID.
In this agreement, we also reaffirm our shared commitment to guaranteeing Scottish independence and giving the people the right to determine the future of our country through a referendum. The Scottish Greens last signed a cooperation agreement with the SNP in 2007.  Following the announcement of the agreement between the Scottish Government and the Greens, the President wrote to members of the Scottish Parliament on 31 August 2021 to explain how this would change parliamentary work. The agreement also lists several areas where the Scottish government and the Greens have “agreed to be different”. These areas are defined in the agreement as “excluded issues”. “The stakes couldn`t be higher – with the arrival of cop26 on climate change in Glasgow, Scotland is poised to play a real leadership role on climate. But this agreement concerns both people and the planet. Together we would propose a new deal for tenants, give tenants more rights and introduce rent controls to address Scotland`s housing crisis, create a new national park and much more. That is why we are committed to working together to build a greener, fairer and more independent Scotland. The parties are bound by a common belief in Scottish independence, and the agreement reaffirms their intention to reach a second referendum (by the end of 2023, if the pandemic allows). But they are free to develop their own vision of independence because they have different perspectives on what an independent Scotland would look like.
The pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament exists with or without this deal – the indyref2 legislation would have been backed by the Greens anyway – but the SNP leadership will claim that the deal strengthens the case for a new referendum. The British government will not agree. “I am determined that there will be a referendum on independence in this Parliament. The agreement reiterates: “The agreement contains a commitment to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence before 2026 and, if possible, by the end of 2023.   The Alba party criticized the agreement for its lack of urgency.  “I am delighted that the Scottish Government has reached an innovative agreement with the Scottish Green Party that addresses the challenges and opportunities of our time. In the UK, of course, such decisions are reserved for Westminster, which is convenient since the Scottish government has no desire to scare off the oil companies or voters in the north-east who are already drifting towards the Conservatives. The best that the draft cooperation agreement has to offer on this front is a £500 million fund to support a just transition away from fossil fuels: an initiative that does not meet the aspirations of the Greens. The draft agreement was unanimously approved by the SNP National Executive Committee.  “Today`s politics may too often seem small – polarised, divided and unable to rise to the occasion – and this deal aims to change that in Scotland. It`s about improving policies and governance to find the solutions needed to solve the problems facing the world today.
The agreement sets out a new and transformative vision for Scotland as we recover from the Covid pandemic and look at how we are managing the climate emergency and building a fairer and greener Scotland. The joint programme agreed to build a greener, fairer and more independent Scotland. The agreement between the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Greens, also known as the Bute House Agreement, is a power-sharing agreement between the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Scottish Greens, reached in August 2021 in favour of the third Sturgeon government. On 20 August 2021, after two months of negotiations, the SNP and the Greens announced a new power-sharing agreement.   First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the power-sharing deal at Bute House with Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater. The agreement is based on the cooperation agreement between the Labour Party and the Green Party in New Zealand, which was concluded in November 2020.  The draft agreements will now be examined by the political parties concerned and ministers will submit an update to Parliament after the break. The political programme was used to inform A Fairer, Greener Scotland: the Government Programme for 2021 to 2022, which was published on 7 September 2021.
For more information on the government programme, visit the SPICe Programme for Government 2021-22 blog: A fairr, greener Scotland? This agreement aims to make government different – by placing cooperation and collaboration in the place of division and bitterness. .