THIS week in parliament, we will debate the SNP-Green Scottish Government's proposed budget for the year ahead.

But we do not need a debate to know that, once again, the SNP have delivered a budget which fails to deliver the investment in public services that is needed as we recover from the pandemic.

But as with every budget from the SNP in recent years, it is our councils that have been failed most of all.

And this is despite the fact that – regardless of the spin that the SNP and the Greens may try to put on it – this year the Scottish Government had their biggest ever budget with £3.9billion more to spend than the year before.

COSLA, often referred to as the voice of Scottish local government, have said that this year's Scottish budget amounts to a £371million real-terms cut to our councils' total funding.

But sadly, such a budget shortfall is something Scottish councils have come to expect.

For year after year, councils have watched this Scottish Government's budget increase while at the same time seeing their own budgets slashed.

Predictably, the SNP claim that this budget offers councils a fair deal, one that recognises the 'leadership role that councils play in their communities'.

The SNP may indeed be correct about the important role that councils play in their localities, but the truth is that the deal councils are being offered is anything but fair.

If this were a fair deal, we would not have seen the leaders of all 32 councils in Scotland write a joint letter to Nicola Sturgeon condemning the funding settlement they've been offered.

This includes the leaders of every single SNP council – with one SNP councillor describing this year's budget as 'the toughest in recent memory'.

This year, councils will have the ability to increase Council Tax by as much as they choose.

But with a massive thirteen per cent increase being required just to make up for this year's budget shortfall, councils are fully aware that savings must be made at their end too, which will inevitably lead to services being cut.

Whilst it will be councils that have to manage these cuts, it is ultimately communities in all parts of Scotland that will feel their effects the most.

Every council will be forced to make cuts somewhere, and whether they come from the roads' budget or the schools' budget, the fact remains that unavoidable cuts like these will affect us all.

Councils should be empowered to serve the communities they represent, but this simply isn't possible unless they are properly funded.

That is why my party is proposing a new funding formula which would guarantee that councils receive a fixed percentage of the Scottish budget, ensuring that when the Scottish Government's budget increases, this money always gets passed on to local government.

Without such fair funding, our councils simply cannot live up to their potential.

It is time for this SNP-Green Scottish government to think again and deliver a budget that communities across the whole of Scotland deserve.