Scottish Government agrees Budget deal with Greens

The Scottish Government has agreed a deal with Holyrood's six Green MSPs to ensure its Budget will be passed.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay confirmed the two parties had reached an agreement just hours before the Scottish Budget faced its first vote.

With the SNP no longer having a majority of MSPs at Holyrood, ministers have to secure backing from other parties to pass legislation.

Mr Mackay had been in talks with Patrick Harvie, co-convener of the Scottish Greens.

The Finance Secretary announced on Twitter: "BREAKING - a budget deal has been agreed with @ScotGP delivering extra support for Local Government, public sector pay and low carbon infrastructure.

"Our budget for Scotland will reverse Tory cuts, deliver support for the economy and increase health spending by £400m."

Details of the deal will be revealed to MSPs in the Scottish Parliament later this afternoon but the Greens said they had secured extra cash for councils and more money for public-sector workers.

Analysis of the draft Budget by the Scottish Parliament's Information Centre (Spice) showed it would reduce funding for local authorities by £157 million.

The Greens had also been lobbying for more funding for low carbon investment projects to tacklefuel poverty and progress new rail projects.

A spokesman for the Scottish Greens said: "Opposition parties have a responsibility to engage constructively and make a difference for Scotland's communities, and that's exactly what Greens are doing.

"This is a substantial package of funding for local council services, teachers and other public-sector workers, and will boost the green infrastructure our communities need for the future.

"On this basis, our MSPs are able to support the budget in tonight's vote."

It is the second consecutive year that the Greens have agreed to support the SNP administration's Budget.

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