AMIDST the chaos of finance ministers and chancellors disappearing, the real budget crisis risks being lost.

The Scottish draft budget has put Glasgow in an appalling position.

The SNP Government said it was giving more money to local government - but the reality is that so much money has been earmarked for national priorities, the pot of what’s left to use for vital local services is now impossibly small.

In Glasgow, the numbers are stark. There are no options left now except social care cuts described as catastrophic, alongside savage cuts to education. This is after raising council tax bills.

When the finance minister was quizzed this week on the horrendous potential damage awaiting local councils from her budget, she said that councils could raise council tax.

This is outrageous - not only that the Government is forcing local councils to rely on an unpopular, regressive tax, and not only that they are using it as justification for their own inadequate funding. The worst thing about this excuse is that it doesn’t even add up. In Glasgow, putting Council Tax up by the maximum allowed amount would raise £10.6million pounds for the city. The gap between what we need and what we have been given stands at £44million.

Presumably the Scottish Government understands that 10 and 44 are not the same - so why, then, are they making it look like Councils are forcing through unnecessary cuts when in fact it’s national decisions that have created this situation?

Lest anyone throw the line about this being about the cost of fixing equal pay in Glasgow - be clear that it’s not.

Councils up and down the country are in dire straits, and this is because of increased demand for services, pay inflation - and because the Scottish Government is refusing to give local councils fair funding.

The SNP’s completely unsustainable reductions to local budgets show total contempt for local choices and local priorities.

It’s also a needless counterargument to independence - after Westminster, we don’t need a different version of centralised government that views local public services as collateral damage.

Greens want independence because we want change - a fairer, more representative, more democratic Scotland, with genuine power to communities; power at the most local possible level. This budget and this Government are doing the opposite.

Meanwhile, amongst the horrorshow figures, we still need to be clear on the urgency of work to decarbonise our city. It’s not about local needs versus climate - from flooding to breathing difficulties to being physically cut off from services by snow, climate chaos always hits the most vulnerable the hardest. We need to protect local services and also combat the climate emergency, and it’s very hard to do either with gutted budgets.

Maybe it worked as a tactic to pass all the nasty cuts to councils when Labour ran them - but now the SNP are in charge in Glasgow, the onus is on them to stand up and be counted. Our city’s SNP representatives must urgently demand decent funding.