ANOTHER year, another deal between the SNP and the Greens to pass a budget through the Scottish Parliament.

Despite making some outlandish demands such as cancelling key infrastructure projects, the Greens settled on a slight increase in funding from local government and a commitment by the SNP to 'support preparations' to introduce free bus travel for teenagers 'if possible'. Whatever that means.

And all of this will be paid for by and as yet unclear 'reprofiling' of business rates and, however reluctant the SNP might be to admit it, extra money from the UK Government.

But this latest budget deal continues to fall well short of what was needed. It continues to lead to greater divergence between Scotland and the rest of the UK over tax rates, it fails to provide much needed funding for more drug rehabilitation beds to tackle the drug deaths crisis, and it still underfunds our local councils by dramatically slashing their capital resources allocation.

Hard-working Scots continue to suffer year after year from these last-minute deals between the two pro-independence parties as they pay more and get less.

The SNP are also under increasing pressure over their handling of Scotland's education system, which they have been in sole charge of for 13 years.

A couple of weeks ago, the education secretary, John Swinney, published the latest report about pupil performance late at night.

It showed poorer results in core subjects like English, mathematics and history and admitted that the poverty-related attainment gap was not closing.

In fact, the gulf between pupils in deprived and more affluent areas is deepening in certain areas, in part due to children from the least privileged backgrounds performing more poorly.

Closing the attainment gap is supposed to be levelling up standards and ensuring that those from less well-off backgrounds are not at a disadvantage but, when the SNP are in charge, it seems to mean falling standards for everyone and with standards for pupils in more affluent areas falling at a quicker rate.

The Scottish Government have nevertheless finally announced the remit of the independent review into the Curriculum for Excellence, which is necessary but long overdue.

This follows a U-turn by the government following pressure from the Scottish Conservatives. We demanded this review in response to feedback from teachers, parents and academics who are concerned about the increase in multi-level teaching, the decline in school subject choice as well as continuing concerns over falling attainment.

Before the last election, Nicola Sturgeon promised that education would be her number one priority, but any school pupil could tell you that this has not been the case and that the Scottish Government's obsession with independence has distracted them from getting on with the day job.

Despite the best efforts of teachers across the country, the Scottish education system is no longer the gold standard internationally that it once was. Generations of Scottish pupils are being failed by the SNP.

Scotland deserves better than this. We need a government that will properly prioritise education, ensure our public services have the funding they need, and keep taxes low.