The Scottish Government’s budget has passed a vote today the SNP agreed a deal with The Scottish Greens.
Today’s deal will mean Renfrewshire Council will have a funding package worth up to an extra £6.1 million as a direct result of the Green deal.
This afternoon it was confirmed an agreement had been reached with Scottish Ministers on a package of immediate budget changes and long-terms reforms to boost funding for local services such as schools, social care and libraries.
The deal, when combined with existing local revenue raising powers, this will close the £237m gap in council funding, identified by the local government body COSLA.
Ministers have also agreed to Green demands for a timescale for replacing the Council Tax system. This will be developed by a cross-party process starting before the summer, and legislation will be published before the end of this session of parliament.
The Greens have also won commitments to give councils greater fundraising powers including the ability to charge a visitor levy or ‘tourist tax’, as is commonplace in other European cities and regions, which can be invested in local services such as public toilets.
Ross Greer, Green MSP for the West of Scotland said: “Everyone relies on local services like schools and social care, and local facilities such as sports centres and libraries. Today’s Green budget deal means that Renfrewshire Council now has £6.1 million more than expected to protect these services and the jobs of front line workers.
“It’s welcome that after consistent Green pressure the SNP Government have seen sense and committed to our demand for both immediate action and longer-term reform.
“The Greens will always be firm but constructive in these situations. Scrapping the Tories’ Council Tax is a historic victory. All parties now have an opportunity to help bring about a fairer system of funding essential local services.
“On top of recent progressive reforms to Income Tax, today’s deal shows yet again that Scottish Greens are leading the change, making Scotland the fairer country we know we can be.”
Derek Mackay MSP, Scottish Finance Secretary, said: “I am pleased to have reached agreement with the Scottish Green Party to deliver a Scottish Budget that invests in health, education, our economy and supports local services.”