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Holyrood backs Scottish Government Budget in first key vote

Green MSPs and two Liberal Democrat MSPs supported the party's proposals.

Passed: Derek Mackay said he has to work with other parties.
Passed: Derek Mackay said he has to work with other parties. PA

The Scottish Budget has passed its first key vote at Holyrood.

The SNP secured a parliamentary majority for the tax and spending plans after reaching an agreement with the Scottish Greens.

Two Liberal Democrat MSPs also decided to back the proposals after the Scottish Government decided to help fund inter-island ferries in their constituencies of Orkney and Shetland.

The remaining three Lib Dem MSPs, including the party's leader, voted against the Budget alongside all of the Scottish Conservative and Scottish Labour MSPs.

Green support for the Budget was secured after a cut to local government funding was scrapped, alongside an income tax cut for some higher earners.

Finance secretary Derek Mackay said: "As a parliament of minorities, we must work across the chamber to find compromise and consensus in order to give support, sustainability and stimulus to our economy and to our public services.

"This budget invests record amounts in our NHS, supports our efforts to improve attainment in our schools, invests in our economy with support for infrastructure, for broadband and for innovation, and supports our ambitions to tackle climate change."

Two further votes will be held on the Budget next month but with the Green's support it is assured to pass through these stages.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1407320-snp-strike-budget-deal-with-greens-ahead-of-key-vote/ | default

Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie said the deal was "just the latest example of Greens leading the change in Scottish politics".

He said: "Last year we stopped the cuts, this year we've pushed the government even further and delivered a real-terms increase in funding, including a fair contribution towards the additional pressures councils are facing."

Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said: "The ever faithful Patrick Harvie has once again saved the SNP's bacon.

"The always willing Scottish Greens are there to do their master's bidding. The wholly-owned subsidiary has had its orders from head office."

He added: "This is a budget that can be summed up in four words-pay more, get less."

Scottish Labour finance spokesman James Kelly said: "There's a lack of investment in public services, it doesn't properly fund fair pay for public-sector workers, it lacks ambition in tackling child poverty and it does not alleviate the growing crisis in the NHS.

"The grubby deal that's been announced today by Derek Mackay, the Green-SNP deal, just does not cut it.

"This budget falls short and the deal will be condemned by local communities faced with cuts to lifeline services."

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