Greens welcome Scottish Budget Deal

Friday February 3rd 2017

Ian Baxter Councillor Main

Midlothian Green Councillor, Bonnyrigg Ward, Ian Baxter

Midlothian Greens are welcoming the party’s historic deal to secure £160million of additional funds from the Scottish Government to protect local council services such as schools and social care.

A Scottish Green spokesperson said: “For Midlothian this could mean £2.6m of extra finding secured.Following discussions with Green MSPs over the draft Scottish budget, Scottish Ministers have agreed to abandon their proposed tax giveaway for higher earners and provide a total of £160million for local councils to spend on local priorities.

“We’ve protected other budget like health, environment and equalities. The £160 million is allocated from a mix of money carried forward from this year and a modest tax change for people earning over £43,000.

“It will be allocated directly to local councils for them to spend on local priorities such as: Money for schools to spend on smaller classes and additional support needs; Social care services for people who need it through illness, disability, old age or poverty; Support for carers, social work, libraries, money advice and crisis centres, bus routes, green spaces, warm homes and housing, culture, adult education, sports and other essential services

Midlothian Green Councillor Ian Baxter said:

“Both this settlement and the budget I agreed with the Administration in Midlothian show show that by working with other parties and applying the right pressure, Greens can achieve an outcome which protects local services and reverses some of the cuts and closures which affect the most vulnerable in our communities”.

“This is the biggest budget concession in Holyrood’s history. Other parties effectively ruled themselves out of constructive dialogue. My Green colleagues in Parliament 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.”

“Going forward, it’s not enough to slow down the cuts to services, but we need to look towards generating more income tthrough development of renewable energy, which will help fund better services in future years.

“Same old, same old will not do for Midlothian in the future. The people of Midlothian deserve more. And after the May 2017 elections an enlarged Green Group on the council will work their socks off to ensure that our communities get the best that local government can deliver.

“The Green approach to politics is collaborative, not party politics. Other opposition parties have delivered nothing for public services in Midlothian – our approach has delivered the largest budget concession and we can protect the essential services our communities demand and deserve”.

“Nobody who cares about local services can say ‘no thanks’ to this budget deal. Scottish Greens are only party to persuade the Scottish Government to make any changes. Labour’s tax proposal would have harmed low income households. Their posturing has not saved a single council cut. As for the Conservatives, the least said about their performance today in the Scottish Parliament the better: petty and shameful.

“Scottish Greens are still far from the SNP on tax, but they have made the first small but significant concession that raises money from higher earners. We will continue to push for a bolder approach to tackling inequality.”

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