Ecstatic Greens as they force SNP to give ground

John Finnie – biggest budget concession in Holyrood’s history.

THE MORAY GREEN PARTY is claiming a ‘historic’ victory as their six MSP’s forced the Scottish Government to agree a major tax raising concession in the Scottish Budget.

Under threat of having to call another election if their minority government could not get enough votes to pass their budget, the SNP at Holyrood agreed to higher-rate tax changes proposed by the Greens – and for £160million of that to be apportioned to help alleviate the pressure on local authorities.

As a result, Moray Council will now receive an additional £2.9million on their allocation, prompting the Convenor of the Moray Greens, James MacKessack-Leitch, to herald the decision as a historic victory for his party.

He said: “We stand firmly with Morays communities and all those affected by cuts and closures, and these new funds secured by Green MSPs mean we can start to repair the damage done by years of underfunding and lack of local flexibility.

“While there will still be challenging times ahead, in practice this means that the worst of the predicted service cuts and potential job losses can be avoided, and the Council will have some extra resources for vital capital investment.

“This is very much only the start of a journey on restoring financial powers and control at local level, and a path we will continue to push the Government down.”

While Moray’s MSP Richard Lochhead proclaimed the deal as being “good news that my constituents will benefit from nearly £3million more for Moray Council”, being forced into making taxation changes they did not want was a bitter pill for the government.

However, regional Green MSP John Finnie was ecstatic, saying: “This is the biggest budget concession in Holyrood’s history.

“Other parties effectively ruled themselves out of constructive dialogue. Green MSPs have achieved more in a single budget than the Labour Party has in a decade of opposition. This is, however, only the start of a journey on restoring financial powers at local level.”