THE Scottish Parliament has taken the next big step towards a fairer, greener recovery, by voting to support the first b since Greens joined the Scottish Government.

Despite the challenging background of an ongoing pandemic, and continued cuts from Westminster, we have delivered Scotland's greenest budget yet.

Green MSPs and Ministers have been working hard within government to secure significant commitments.

This is a budget which puts tackling poverty and climate crisis at the heart of government.

We're investing in young people by doubling the Scottish Child Payment to £20 a week. We have also secured an extra £145million to recruit teachers and classroom assistants, and £94m to expand free school meals and tackle the costs of the school day.

This is an addition to record funding for walking, wheeling, and cycling infrastructure, along with £100m for free bus travel for under 22s which launched last week. And this is all despite a 5.2 per cent cut in the funding provided by the UK Government.

But it's not just in national government that Green voices are vital. In the Green movement we often talk about the importance of thinking globally and acting locally, and that's exactly what we're doing.

A lot of the most important decisions affecting our daily lives are made in council chambers across the country.

In recent years, the Greens have worked hard to negotiate for more funds that have helped to fill in the gaps in local government funding – winning a total of over £500m of additional investments in local services over the last five years in Scotland.

In Clackmannanshire, this has meant the proposed closure of Coalsnaughton and Fishcross Primary Schools were taken off the table.

The Greens have also worked to introduce new powers for councils to raise local levies on tourism and workplace parking. But we also know that there is much more to do, and that filling in the gaps cannot provide the level of change needed to support local councils in tackling the climate emergency.

Serious and radical reforms are needed to improve local government funding. This means empowering our communities through participatory budgeting and devolving more taxation powers to local


The last nine months have shown the vital and positive impact that Greens can have. We are solution-driven and can put aside our differences to do what's best for people and planet.

In three months' time we will head to the polls for a local council election. This time we're hoping to elect a bigger and more diverse group of councillors across the country, and our first Green Councillor in Clackmannanshire.

More green voices in our local councils will be vital in turning the vision for a fairer and greener Scotland to action at a local level.

My colleagues and I have shown the difference that we make in Holyrood and in government.

With more Green councillors elected this May we can do the same for communities here in Stirling.