THE Scottish Government’s tax and spending plans for 2019-20 are to be formally approved by Holyrood, thanks to a deal between SNP ministers and Green MSPs.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay, pictured, reached an agreement with the Greens last month that will enable his Budget to pass through the Scottish Parliament today.

The arrangement will mean local authorities can raise council tax by almost 5% in the coming year, with councils also being given powers to introduce a workplace parking levy or a new tourist tax on hotel stays.

Speaking ahead of the final vote on the Budget, Mackay said it would deliver “the public services, social contract and economic investment people expect while mitigating, where we can, the impacts of the UK Government’s policies of austerity and Brexit that are causing so much harm”.

There will be a freeze on the higher rate of income tax at 41% for those earning between £43,430 and £150,00 per year. For those earning above £150,000, the top rate of tax will also be frozen at 46%.

In the rest of the UK, the higher tax rate threshold is to rise to £50,000 from April. An intermediate rate of 21% will apply for those earning over £24,944 and up to £43,430.

A basic rate of tax will apply of 20% for earnings over £14,549 to £24,944, while a starter rate of tax of 19% for income between £12,500 to £14,549 was also agreed.

Mackay stressed: “This budget provides an increase of over £730 million for our health and care services, invests more than £180m to raise attainment in our schools and gives a vital boost to our economy through a £5 billion infrastructure programme.”

The support of Holyrood’s six Green MSPs means the Budget will be passed, despite opposition from the Scottish Conservatives, Labour and the LibDems.

But Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie said the deal his party agreed showed the “shallowness” of the Conservatives and how Labour are “increasingly irrelevant”.

The Budget agreement could see a replacement for the council tax system of local taxation introduced in Scotland after the 2021 Holyrood elections, with Harvie saying: “This year’s Green Budget deal builds on previous years’ achievements, protecting public services and bringing about a fairer system of income tax.

“Green pressure means immediate help for councils to protect schools and social care, leisure centres and libraries, and there’s longer-term reform to give councils stability and control. By contrast, the other opposition parties chose from the outset to whine from the sidelines and as a result they have delivered nothing for the communities they are supposed to represent.

“Labour in particular are becoming increasingly irrelevant, shirking the opportunity to influence a minority government.”