THE Greens have indicated that they will not back the draft Budget unveiled last week but say they are willing to “work constructively” with the Scottish Government to reach a deal.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes set out her spending plans on Thursday, which include record NHS funding of £16 billion and a promise for cash for local authorities to freeze council tax.

However she will need to win support from at least one other party for it to be approved at Holyrood, with support from the Greens expected to be crucial as in previous years.

Last year the Scottish Government agreed to set up a free bus travel scheme for under-19s as part of an SNP-Green budget deal, which also included extra funding for local government and police.

In 2019, a last minute agreement was struck for the budget to include more core funding for councils and extra powers for them to levy local parking and tourist taxes.

READ MORE: Angus Robertson: Kate Forbes delivered results in a key Scottish Budget

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “The Scottish Greens were disappointed that when it came to the numbers, the draft budget was not as green or progressive as is needed to provide a fair and green recovery from the pandemic.

“Even before Covid, Scotland was on track to miss targets on child poverty and climate emissions, but these crises have got worse, not better. The budget should reflect that.”

Forbes said her tax and spending plans for the coming year were part of an “exceptional response” to the “exceptional circumstances” the country is facing.

She said her draft budget for 2021-22 aims to bring much-needed stability to ensure “our economy recovers and we protect those who have been hit the hardest”.

The Finance Secretary said Scotland has been through “dark times” as a result of coronavirus, but stressed: “We have never given up hope. Hope for a better future, for a healthier, greener, fairer society.

“This Budget seeks to build on that hope, and by focusing on how we continue to protect, recover, rebuild and renew our country, it seeks to make that light at the end of the tunnel shine that bit brighter.”

However opposition MSPs questioned whether sufficient cash is being allocated to local authorities.

Scottish Conservative finance spokesperson Murdo Fraser said councils have been “underfunded” for years, while Scottish Labour interim leader Jackie Baillie said spending on local government “falls short of what is required”.