LAST week the SNP and Greens came to a last-minute backroom deal in Holyrood. 

They were quick to try and promote it as a budget that protects Scotland, but in reality, it does just the opposite.

Councils across Scotland will still see their budgets being cut which will impact public services and we will still income tax rises for one million Scots. 

In Inverclyde our local council will still receive a cut of around £1 million. Expect to see that money removed from our public services as the council tries to balance its books.

It is highly likely that many councils across Scotland will take full advantage of raising council tax by up to three per cent this financial year. A double whammy for those who pay council and income tax.

The SNP’s original proposals had 16,000 Inverclyde residents paying more in income tax too. Under the deal struck for Green Party support, changes to the threshold mean that even more people in Inverclyde will be paying even more income tax.

Now of course we can have an argument over whether or not taxes should go up or down, it’s an argument as old as politics – the point I would like to make is that none of this is necessary.

We have a government which has wasted hundreds of millions of pounds on failed projects such as the farmer payments IT system, or broken NHS and Police IT systems.

We have a government which thinks it is fine to give free education to students from the EU coming to Scotland but presides over a system which is seeing fewer Scottish pupils from deprived backgrounds going to university than a decade ago.

Let’s not mention cuts to college places, reduced subject choice for students, bigger classroom sizes and reductions in classroom assistants despite a growing number of additional needs students. 

There is a shortage of teachers in subjects such as science and maths. The skills people will need for tomorrow’s economy.

NHS Greater Clyde and Glasgow tops the table of cancelled winter operations. There is a chronic problem with funding our roads at both local and national level. 

To sum it up, the SNP is choosing to hike taxes in Scotland because it has no other choice. Poor management of our economy, little to no growth, and wastage in government on ‘vote winning’ vanity projects have led us to where we are today.

This budget was no great surprise – a last ditch attempt to get the taxpayer to fund government failure. Voter patience is wearing thin.