SCOTLAND’s Deputy First Minister accused the Tories of being “hell-bent” on returning to a “new age of austerity” as the final vote on the Scottish Budget took place.

Shona Robison said it was a “challenging Budget requiring difficult choices” and also called on opposition parties to spell out what cuts they would make if they want more investment in particular areas.

The measures in the £55bn annual budget includes tax rises for high earners and funding for local authorities which implement a council tax freeze.

Opposition parties set out their plans to reject it, but it was passed by 68 votes to 55, with one abstention.

Speaking ahead of the vote, Robison told MSPs more than £5billion was being invested into growth across the government, with an addition £87million in public sector support for offshore wind.

READ MORE: EIS union to push for more education funding after Scottish Budget

She went on: “It is unclear to me how the UK Government intends to provide the infrastructure or investment in capital that creates long-term sustainable economic growth when it is hell-bent on returning to a new age of austerity.

“To be clear, if you stand in this chamber today and say that the UK’s income tax bands and rates should be followed here in Scotland, then in the interests of fiscal transparency you need to say where your hammer blow of £1.5 billion of cuts would fall.”

During the debate, Robison also challenged Tory finance spokesperson Liz Smith (below) who raised the issue of economic growth.

The National: Liz Smith has suggested the graduate endowment should be looked at again

She said: “I just wonder if Liz Smith would recognise the irony of her talk about policies to stimulate economic growth when the UK Government has literally put the economy into recession. Does she not see irony of that statement?”

Smith responded: “What I see the irony of is a Scottish Government that is pretending it is on side of economic growth when virtually everybody in the business community, I don’t know how many economic commentators, have universally said this Budget is not about growth.”

READ MORE: Scottish Budget: Trade unions react to council tax freeze

Robison also called for Scottish Labour’s finance spokesperson to set out how his party would fund tax cuts after accusations Scottish ministers were being “opaque”.

She said: “Given Michael Marra has now set out again that Labour would cut taxes, can he set out where the spending cuts will come, because each budget has two sides to it – Michael Marra has been here long enough to know that.

“He has set out the tax cut side, what about the spending side?

Marra said: “Labour has been absolutely consistent in the view that the tax policies this government is pursuing in this Budget frankly are not going to produce the growth we need.”

He was interrupted as the Presiding Officer rebuked MSPs for shouting out, before going on to say: “What we want to see is a competent government that doesn’t waste billions of pounds, that can actually be a reasonable steward for the public finances and run those services properly.”

READ MORE: Scottish Budget summary: Key points from Shona Robison's statement

Meanwhile the SNP’s former finance secretary John Swinney dismissed accusations from Tory MSP Smith that the Scottish Government had engaged in “waste” in projects such as ferries.

He said there would be capital projects that got into difficulty – pointing to examples from the UK Government such as HS2.

To applause from the SNP benches he added: “Squandering money left right and centre – the Tories haven’t got a leg to stand on on public finance management on capital projects.”

He went on: “If the Conservatives plans were followed here, we would have to take £1.5billion out of this Budget.

“If Labour plans were followed we would have to take £561 million out of the Budget.

“I wish I had some of the brass neck of the Conservatives to come here and lecture us about the public finances.”

READ MORE: Fergus Ewing serves ban from SNP group after losing appeal

Speaking after the vote SNP MSP  Kenneth Gibson said his party were using "every penny" to try and support those who need it most.

"Despite Westminster's economic negligence and attack on public service funding," he said

"The SNP has prioritised protecting household budgets and our NHS in the face of unprecedented financial pressure.

“This includes record funding for our NHS, social security payments being uplifted by inflation and meeting our commitment to make taxation fairer and more progressive.

“The SNP Government is using every penny at their disposal to support those who need it most, fund our vital public services and ensure businesses are backed to sustainably grow the economy.

“In the face of brutal Westminster cuts – the SNP budget delivers on our promise to the people of Scotland to support those who need it the most and ensure everyone has access to our vital public services.”