Scottish budget approved after a last minute deal

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The Scottish government’s budget passed the first vote last week after the SNP and Scottish Greens reached a deal.

Derek MacKay, Finance Secretary of Scotland, summarised the budget as investing in “health, education, our economy and supports local service.”

The deal was struck minutes before a debate on the budget, which will see the Greens support the SNP through three stages in return for greater funding for local councils.

Local authorities themselves will have the ability to raise council tax by up to 4.79 percent.

Extra funding for councils, the health service, education and infrastructure will be sourced through a wider tax gap for higher earners.

The minority SNP government was facing defeat as they needed 3 opposition MSPs to vote for the budget.

Greens thought the initial proposal was damaging for local governments, whilst Labour, Lib Dems and Conservatives had also refused to back the budget. Partly due to SNP’s refusal to rule out calling IndyRef2, a second referendum on Scottish independence.

Greens co-convener, Patrick Harvie, told Brig, “the public rely on local services such as schools and social care, and local facilities such as sports centres and libraries. The Green budget deal means councils can protect these services and the jobs of front line workers.

“All parties now have an opportunity to help bring about a fairer system of funding essential local services.”
Patrick Harvie has stressed the importance of more funding for local councils. Source: HeraldScotland

The stage one vote passed by 67 votes to 58, with one MSP abstaining.

Scottish Conservatives claimed that the SNP have gone back on promises they made to voters, claiming that council tax would not be raised more than 3%.

Stirling’s MP Stephen Kerr responded to the news with a tweet in which he said, “concerning to learn that my constituents in Stirling could be exposed to Council Tax increases of up to almost 5%, while funding for the council still faces an overall cut.”

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