The SNP Government’s budget for 2022-23 has now been agreed.

It was supported by the Scottish Green Party.

No alternative budget or amendments were submitted by any opposition party.

By law, Scottish Ministers must deliver a balanced budget each year.

However, the UK Tory Government has cut Scotland’s capital and resource funding by 9.7 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively for the forthcoming year.

Nevertheless, the budget provides an ambitious package of public investment to accelerate our recovery from the pandemic, tackle inequalities, and invest in the economy and our public services.

The Scottish Government also prioritised supporting people through Covid recovery and the spiralling cost of living.

This includes doubling of the Scottish Child Payment to £20 a week, £831.5 million in affordable housing investment and £840 million over three years to develop a new National Care Service.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran will receive a record £806 million, investment in mental health has grown from £117 million to £290 million in just two years and £414 million will support Scotland’s bus services.

Income tax rates remain unchanged, with higher payment thresholds for lower earners.

Large rises in energy bills, cost on everyday essentials, interest rates and the UK Government’s new National Insurance hike are all causing huge concern and worry, with many people struggling to heat their homes.

£150 will be provided to every household in receipt of Council Tax reduction, and local authorities will receive funding to pass on that £150 to all other occupied households in Council Tax bands A to D, some 73 per cent of Scottish households.

While not a perfect solution, this money will be distributed quickly. An additional £10 million was allocated to the fuel insecurity fund to help households at risk of self-disconnection or of self-rationing their energy use due to unaffordable costs.

Many businesses face the challenge of bouncing back from the pandemic. I was therefore also pleased to see further funding of £39.5 million allocated to support sectors hardest hit by the public health measures, such as events, travel and tourism.

I have continuously lobbied the UK Government to provide these sectors more support since the start of the pandemic, as its impacts will last longer than for other areas of our economy, so I’m delighted that Scottish Ministers are doing what they can to help these businesses recover from a devastating two years.

The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need for additional powers for Scotland on an ongoing basis, as the experience of dealing with both its health and its economic impacts, while supporting those struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, clearly demonstrates how difficult it is to take action without sufficient financial powers.

As it stands, the SNP Government has very limited borrowing powers – fewer than North Ayrshire Council - to invest in its Covid response or the economy, and only limited powers over the benefits system.

That’s why I will continue to press the UK Government to do more to combat the cost-of-living crisis facing so many people over the coming year.