THE SNP, backed by the six Green MSPs have passed a budget which, at its heart, is going to take more money from local people.

One of the most misguided policies in this year’s budget is a plan to allow councils to introduce a workplace parking levy – or a car parking tax, as it has become known. While the SNP try to pass the buck for this policy to councils, it is they who are responsible for this badly thought-out scheme, which will punish workers for simply wanting to drive to work and cost workers up to £500 a year.

Commuters in Clydebank and across West Dunbartonshire could face the potential of councillors in Glasgow City Council imposing a policy on them, despite them not having any say in their election. How exactly is that local decision-making in action?

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All Scottish Conservative council group leaders have signed a letter against these plans. Local people and businesses do not want yet another tax that will take more money from employees.

The challenge for SNP councillors in West Dunbartonshire is to stand up for local motorists and workers and send a strong message to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay that a car-parking tax has no place in this region.

While the car-parking tax has dominated the budget discussions, the SNP and Greens’ penny-pinching does not stop there. Despite a pledge in their 2016 manifesto to cap council tax rises at 3 per cent, the deal now allows councils to raise bills by up to 4.79 per cent. This is a direct result of the SNP failing to properly fund councils during their 12 years in government.

Figures from Holyrood’s independent information centre show spending per head in West Dunbartonshire went down by £115 between 2013-14 and 2018-19 in real terms.

It does not stop there. Those earning over £26,900 will pay more than in the rest of the UK in income tax as Derek Mackay chose not to pass on Westminster thresholds at a lower rate for higher rate taxpayers at 40p.

This is not the message we want to send to people to come to Scotland. We should be encouraging people to come and make West Dunbartonshire a place to live, work and bring up a family. Instead, you might be taxed for parking at work, face almost 5 per cent rises in your council tax and be paying more income tax. It is a pity the SNP could not look at measures designed to help people’s finances rather than harm them.