SNP deal with Greens clears way for Holyrood to pass Scottish budget

Tom Batchelor
·2 min read
 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Scottish Greens have reached a deal with the Holyrood government to ensure the budget is passed into law after securing pay rises for public sector workers and an expansion of the free school meals programme.

The party has helped push through the last five budgets by negotiating concessions with the Scottish National Party-led (SNP) administration on issues including free bus travel as a condition of their support.

Kate Forbes, the Scottish finance secretary, announced the deal on Monday, which also includes Covid-19 relief payments of up to £130 for low income families.

Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said he was “delighted” his party's “constructive approach” had again yielded results.

The deal means the minority SNP government will be able to push the legislation through its final stages on Tuesday.

In return for the Greens’ support, Ms Forbes has agreed to pay rises for public sector workers, amounting to £800, or about 4 per cent, for those earning less than £25,000, 2 per cent for those on between £25,000 and £49,000 and 1 per cent above that.

The Greens also secured Covid-19 relief payments of up to £130 for poorer families as well as two further instalments of £100 each in August and December for families with children eligible for free school meals.

Half a million families will receive the smaller payment, while 170,000 will be eligible for the full £330, the party said.

All primary school pupils in Scotland will also be able to claim free school meals during term time, under the new plans, and £40m will be invested in active travel, energy efficiency and other environmental efforts.

Last year, the main ask of the Greens was free concessionary bus travel for young people, which Ms Forbes agreed to extend to those under 22 years old in this round of negotiations.

Scottish Labour will also back the budget if it includes an increase in social care workers' pay to £12 per hour, rising to £15 in the next parliament.

The party said the median hourly wage for UK care workers was currently £9.50 and a pay rise would benefit as many as 200,000 people in Scotland.

Additional reporting by PA

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