PUBLIC Finance minister Kate Forbes was the SNP’s superhero yesterday when she stepped in to deliver the Scottish Government’s Budget at the last minute.

At the heart of the proposals was a pledge to spend £1.8 billion tackling the global climate emergency.

Her unexpected turn in the Holyrood limelight came as Derek Mackay was forced to quit as Finance Secretary in a sleaze row over messages sent to a 16-year-old schoolboy.

His spectacular fall from grace stunned colleagues, leaving them desolate and miserable.

But despite the pressure, the assured turn of the 29-year-old Forbes gave them a much-needed boost.

She also made history by becoming the first woman in Holyrood’s history to set out a Budget.

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During her speech to MSPs, Forbes also made clear she would be leading the discussions with the other parties on the spending plans, indicating that her temporary promotion to Finance Secretary looks likely to be permanent. With the SNP having a minority Government in the Scottish Parliament, they can only get their Budget through with the support of opposition MSPs.

Forbes warned that while she was willing to compromise, the Government had clear parameters about what would be up for negotiations.

She told MSPs: “This is a Budget that fully allocates the resources at our disposal and addresses the priorities of the nation.

“It reflects our ambition for our country, our determination to eliminate child poverty, to accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy and improve the collective wellbeing of our society through first class public services and a social security system built with human dignity at its core.”

The delay to the UK Government’s Budget meant the Scottish Government was in the unusual position of setting out spending plans without knowing exactly what money was coming to the country’s block grant through the Barnett formula.

READ MORE: Kate Forbes becomes first woman to deliver Scottish Budget

Forbes said the proposals contained in her Budget were based on promises of spending made by the Tory Government. This could lead to problems, if the UK Government didn’t live up to its promises.

She told MSPs: “If the UK Government does not live up to its promises we will have to take the unprecedented step of returning to this chamber with Budget revisions that make cuts to the spending plans that have been outlined today.”

Setting out her spending plans, Forbes told MSPs that her Budget would “step up the delivery of our ambition to tackle climate change.”

The minister announced £1.8bn of capital spending would go on specific projects aimed at cutting emissions.

To encourage more Scots to use public transport, she said funding for rail and bus services would rise by £286 million to £1.55bn in 2020-21.

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In addition, more than £85m will be spent promoting active travel – such as walking and cycling.

On taxation, Forbes said there would be no increase to income tax rates in Scotland in the coming year, while the threshold at which people start paying the basic and intermediate rates will increase by the rate of inflation.

Thresholds for the higher and upper rates will be frozen. Forbes said this would mean 56% of people in Scotland paying less tax than anywhere else in the rest of the UK.

There are just three weeks to get the Budget through Parliament.

The Scottish Greens, who have backed the SNP proposals for the last four years, described this year’s offering as “timid” and not an “emergency response” to climate change.

Murdo Fraser said the Tories could not support the plans.