The Budget has just been passed in the Scottish Parliament with the Scottish Greens and the SNP voting for it and the Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour and the Scottish Liberal Democrats all voting against it. The Greens negotiated with the SNP and eventually reached an agreement that allowed the Budget to be passed. But what is in it for Orkney?
Orkney Green, Steve Sankey said: ” For Orkney in particular this could mean around an extra £1 million windfall for OIC to help save some cuts to essential services in schools, libraries and the care of the elderly.”
Maree Todd MSP (SNP) commented “Last night’s budget will deliver £591.8 million for NHS Highland, over £8 million in additional funding to local government in the Highlands and almost £2.5 million extra local government funding in Orkney & Shetland”
Steve Sankey who is standing for the Greens in May’s OIC elections went on to say:
“We Greens stand firmly with both our communities in Orkney and the public sector workers affected by the proposed cuts and closures. This is the biggest budget concession in Holyrood’s history. My Green colleagues in Parliament have achieved more in a single budget than the other Parties have in a decade of opposition, and it’s now down to the convener and the Chief Executive of OIC to work these extra resources through.”
“If we also get the additional £3 million for our internal ferries, which we will help to push for, things are suddenly looking better again.”
Maree Todd MSP expressed her disappointment that the other parties in the Scottish Parliament were unable to support the Budget and said:
“I was very disappointed that members from the Lib Dems, Labour and the Tories voted against it. It seems they could not break from their anti-independence approach to support a budget that will deliver for the people of the Highlands and Islands.”
It will be interesting to see how the OIC manages with the future constraints on local government finances and the pressure that this will put on our services.
The Orkney News will also follow closely the developments in the proposal to nationalise ferry provision in Scotland announced by Transport Minister Humza Yousaf yesterday.