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Scottish Tories commence budget overtures to SNP

SNP ministers were challenged to resist working with the Tories today after the Conservatives put forward their Budget deal to the Scottish government.

The Scottish Conservatives published their offer of a “conciliatory” Budget to SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay today ahead of its publication early next month.

The SNP government will need the support of at least one other party in Holyrood if it is to get its Budget passed.

In the past the Tories and the SNP have worked together to pass Budgets, including during Alex Salmond’s time as first minister, but the SNP has more recently relied on concessions made to the Scottish Greens.

Now the Scottish Conservatives are hoping to sideline the Greens, describing them as “madcap,” and have proposed a review of business rates as well as demanding that taxes are not increased.

But other parties have warned of the consequences of working with the Tories in Holyrood.

Scottish Labour said it will begin talks with the SNP this week in an attempt to convince them to “invest in our future, to rebuild our services and make sure young people get the best start in life.”

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said: “To make this Budget about tax rather than investment is wrong headed.

“Scottish Labour will be holding talks with the Cabinet secretary for finance this week to explore how we can deliver on these aspirations.”

The Greens warned the SNP that the party could not work with the government unless it tackles the climate emergency, expands public transport, puts in place some tax increases and works towards a four-day working week.

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “It’s no surprise that the Tories want to ignore the climate emergency while lowering taxes for their friends, but this offer does present Derek Mackay and the SNP with an interesting choice.

“He can work with the Tories, as the SNP did in their first term in government, or he can stay on the progressive path the Greens have introduced.”

A spokesperson for Mr Mackay said that the government would speak to all opposition parties ahead of the Budget.

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