THE Scottish Government’s budget passed with the unsurprising support of the Greens – despite their pledge they would not back it if funding to councils was cut.

The draft Scottish Budget for 2019/20 would have slashed council cash by £319million. Now, with the support of the Greens, council budgets are expected to lose more than £200m.

Councils have lost £1.5billion since 2011, meaning cuts to education, social care, infrastructure investment and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

The SNP and Greens talk left. Their actions and austerity alliance show otherwise.

Last week in Holyrood, I took part in two debates: the first on social isolation, the second on the presumption to mainstream.

Tackling social isolation and loneliness can only be achieved with investment in local services, such as libraries, community centres and recreational facilities – all services provided by local governments.

Read more: OPINION Mary Fee MSP - Public services need proper funding

Isolation and loneliness costs public services in treating and supporting people with the further problems these issues cause.

During my speech I argued that local authorities are the key drivers in building cohesive communities. They cannot do so in the face of continued austerity.

The second debate focussed on the presumption to mainstream. For anyone not familiar with this term, it basically means that all children should attend a mainstream school, if their needs can be met. It is a crucial part of our education system that benefits children with additional support needs (ASN), creating a more inclusive system for all.

For many children with ASN, they are being let down by cuts to education; cuts that have resulted in 3,000 fewer teachers since the SNP came to power; cuts that have cost more than 140 specialist teachers; cuts that have reduced the number of support staff.

At the same time, the number of children identified with ASN has increased by 40,000, placing further pressure on schools and teachers.

The provision for children with ASN is inadequate, according to 79 per cent of teachers in an EIS survey, and half of teachers surveyed said supporting ASN pupils is causing stress.

So, not only are cuts affecting pupils, they are impacting on the lives of teachers and their ability to properly support children.

These are the consequences of austerity imposed by Westminster and exacerbated by the Scottish Government.