Scottish Government looks set to be defeated on budget
Scottish Parliament - Image credit: Holyrood
The Scottish Government is facing defeat over its budget when it is voted on by MSPs on Thursday, after both the Greens and the Lib Dems have said they will not support it.
The Greens, who were the minority SNP government’s best hope of a deal, have said they cannot support the budget because of cuts to council funding.
Meanwhile, the Lib Dems had called for a second independence referendum to be taken off the table as a condition of negotiating on the budget.
Labour and the Conservatives are not expected to back it either.
Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie said: “SNP ministers do have options for finding the funds needed to protect council budgets, and as we always do the Greens have offered constructive and realistic proposals at every stage.
“The ball is now back in the Government’s court.
“If the Government continues to refuse to accept our proposals or even come up with fair alternatives, we cannot vote for this budget when it comes to Parliament on Thursday.
“Given the huge uncertainty being caused by SNP ministers’ stubbornness, I’ve no doubt council workers and service users will be astonished that we’re in this situation at such a late stage.
“It underlines the need to give real financial powers to the local level so our front line public services are not so reliant on the whims of central government.
“That long-term agenda of fairer funding is one that Scottish Greens will continue to pursue regardless of this year’s outcome.”
Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “We have made a simple request of the SNP government. If they park the issue of independence for the rest of this Parliament then we could reach a comprehensive and progressive deal on the budget.
“We have repeatedly and consistently made that constructive offer so that Scotland can have a stable Scottish Government that focuses on the big challenges rather than getting bogged down with yet another massive and disruptive constitutional debate.
“Unfortunately, the SNP have declined our offer because they have a one-track mind. Despite telling everyone that education is their guiding mission, independence always comes first before anything else.
“Our offer includes costed recommendations on mental health, education and local government.
“We understand that the government has problems with the reliability of the Greens so if Derek Mackay wants to talk he has my number.”