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Scottish Budget voted through by MSPs at final stage

The Scottish Parliament backed Derek Mackay's tax and spending plans by 66 votes to 58.

Derek Mackay Scottish Budget February 21 2019.

Holyrood has voted to endorse the finance secretary's Budget at the third and final stage by 66 votes to 58.

Derek Mackay's tax and spending proposals for 2019-20 were formally backed on Thursday after the Scottish Government struck a deal with the Greens last month.

The arrangement will mean local authorities can raise council tax by almost 5% in the coming year.

Councils will also be given controversial powers to introduce a workplace parking levy or a new tourist tax on hotel stays.

The support of Holyrood's six Green MSPs meant Thursday's result was in no doubt, despite opposition from the Scottish Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1435133-snp-secures-agreement-with-greens-to-pass-scots-budget/ | default

Opening the debate for the government, the finance secretary said he had "strived to deliver stability, sustainability and economic stimulus", adding he was "proud" of the Budget.

But he left the door open to rewriting his plans entirely if there is a no-deal Brexit, as UK chancellor Philip Hammond has also done.

Mackay said he was already working on alternative proposals in the event of the UK crashing out of the EU next month without a deal, but added it would be a "catasrophe" that no measures could satisfactorily mitigate.

It comes after Scotland's chief economist issued a report on Wednesday saying no deal could plunge the Scottish economy into recession and cost 100,000 jobs.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1435691-no-deal-brexit-risks-scottish-recession-report-warns/ | default

Speaking for the Scottish Conservatives, shadow finance spokesman Murdo Fraser described Mackay's plans as a "pay more, get less Budget".

Highlighting the contentious workplace parking levy, which the finance secretary has conceded no economic analysis was carried out for, Fraser said the Budget's progress had developed into an "omnishambles".

Scottish Labour's James Kelly said the proposals amounted to "cuts all over the country" and called on ministers to increase the income tax rate on top earners to 50p.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1433700-scottish-budget-income-tax-rates-to-stay-the-same/ | default

Green co-convener Patrick Harvie said his party's negotiations with the Scottish Government had resulted in a "stronger" Budget, while adding it is "not perfect".

He said if other parties had followed his party's approach, the tax and spending proposals could have been even further improved.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, whose party refused to support the Budget unless Scottish ministers ruled out a second independence referendum, said education and mental health services were being let down.

He said the Budget "could have been different" and that he would have entered into talks had Nicola Sturgeon been willing to consider a "short cessation" of her indyref2 plans.

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