Our latest Community Column sees Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer react to the decision to pass the Scottish Government's spending plans in the Scottish Parliament.

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While other opposition parties threw tantrums and sidelined their few MSPs who did want to negotiate, the Greens have spent months working towards a budget deal with the Scottish Government, one which treats our essential local services fairly. Last week we delivered it.

We were clear from the outset: the Greens would only support a budget that makes real progress towards local tax reform, so we can make sure vital local services are properly funded. That means enough money for schools, social care, roads, libraries, bin collections and more.

I’m pleased that we have secured up to £3.5 million in extra funding for Argyll and Bute Council compared to the SNP’s draft budget. This comes as part of up to £282m more for councils across Scotland.

Over three years of budget negotiations and in a period of austerity the Greens have put more than half a billion pounds into council budgets, not to mention the Local Rail Development Fund, increased spending on low-carbon infrastructure like warm homes and public transport and an end to the public sector pay freeze.

But we also recognised that this annual haggling is no way to fund essential services. Councils should not be dependent on a handout from national government, the revenue-raising powers should rest with them. So this year we also demanded long term democratic reforms.

The reforms we’ve won include a process to scrap the unfair council tax, which is 27 years out of date, is unfair and does not reflect the real value of luxury homes in particular. However, the process to replace it cannot be rushed.

Our reform package also includes a visitor levy or ‘tourist tax’ for councils, as is common across every major tourist destination in Europe. This would allow councils to raise money needed for services like public toilets and road maintenance, which all of us, tourists included, rely on.

This is the power of constructive opposition. This is what Greens were elected to do.