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by Staff reporter
27 January 2022
Budget: Greens urged to 'show some backbone' in the face of £371m cut to local government

Budget: Greens urged to 'show some backbone' in the face of £371m cut to local government

Scotland’s economic output has rebounded and is now above pre-pandemic levels, figures show.

Details released yesterday by the country’s chief statistician show GDP grew by 0.8 per cent in November driven by strong performances in the services sector and the construction industry.

The figures will be a boost for finance secretary Kate Forbes ahead of a Stage One debate on the Scottish Government’s Budget later today.

The Tories called on the Scottish Greens to “show some backbone” and stand up to the SNP over £371m worth of cuts to local government.

The Scottish Government said local authority budgets would receive a five per cent increase in real terms for the coming year.

Speaking ahead of the debate at Holyrood later, Forbes said: “Despite increased financial pressures, we are also continuing to treat councils fairly and we are providing a real terms increase of over five per cent to local authority budgets for the coming year – despite cuts to Scotland’s overall budget by the UK Government.

“It cannot go unsaid that despite the ambition of this Budget, it comes amidst an extremely challenging fiscal backdrop and difficult decisions have had to be made. With uncertainty surrounding the cost of living, sky high energy prices, the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and the fallout from Brexit, I urge MSPs across the chamber to support this Budget and help us secure the way forward to becoming a fairer, greener, more prosperous country.”  

Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Liz Smith MSP, said: “This is the Greens’ big chance to show some backbone and stand up to the SNP.

“In their manifesto, the Greens vowed to fight for real-terms increases in council funding. It will be an embarrassing climbdown of epic proportions if they break that promise within a year.

“Unless they speak up and challenge the SNP over the devastating local council funding cut they have planned, the Greens will have abandoned their principles. It will be clearer than ever that they sold out simply for the good of the nationalist movement, and not for the good of the country.

Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said his party would not vote for the Budget.

He said: “Last year I was proud to do a deal with the government to secure a significant investment in education and an additional £120 million extra for mental health. I had hoped we might be able to make similar progress this year.  

“However, faced with a budget that delivers £371 million in cuts to local government and an unwillingness on the part of the SNP-Green Government to deliver key Scottish Liberal Democrat demands on long Covid and social care, we have no choice but to vote against the budget at stage one.”

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