The prospect of a deal being struck that will see today’s Scottish budget being passed at Holyrood remains in the balance as last-ditch talks continue today.
Finance secretary Derek Mackay has failed to reach a breakthrough with the Greens, although progress has been made to address concerns over local government cuts and reform of the council tax.
The other opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament – the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems – are all poised to vote against the deal. The Greens are holding firm on demands for a commitment to the reverse the £237 million of cuts to core council budgets set out in Mr Mackay’s spending plans for 2017-18.
Councils have warned that this will mean cuts to school support, bus services, street cleaning and public toilets.
Alison Evison, president of the local government body Cosla, said yesterday: “This is about a fair deal for the communities of Scotland. This is about having the resources to deliver our shared outcomes for Scotland.”
Mr Mackay insists that overall funding to councils is going up by £163m.
If MSPs reject the Budget at stage 1 today, the Scottish Government can bring it back again at a future date in an effort to win the approval of Parliament.