AT the end of last month, the SNP Government’s Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes MSP, unveiled her party’s budget proposals for the forthcoming year. You know it’s an election year when the nominally centre-left SNP start boasting about income tax cuts or freezing the very same council tax that they promised to abolish when they came to power 14 years ago. Unfortunately for Scotland, that’s but one of the long list of broken promises that the nationalists have on their CV since 2007.

The SNP profess on their website to “believe the best people to decide the future of our communities are the people who live in those communities”, but those words ring hollow for local authorities throughout Scotland who have borne the brunt of SNP cuts over the past decade.

The facts are these: the SNP Government has been handed an additional £2.4 billion for 2021-22 from the UK Treasury to include an increase in normal spending of £1.1bn and £1.3bn for managing the impact of coronavirus. This is on top of the £8.6bn that the UK Government gave the SNP to fight Covid in 2020-21 and does not include direct investment by the UK Government in jobs and livelihoods here in Scotland through the furlough scheme, self-employment grants and business loans.

So you would think with all this extra funding – as well as the half a billion in uncommitted reserves that the SNP is sitting on from last year – that councils in Scotland could expect to avoid cutting services like we have been forced to do in every year since I was elected as a councillor. That is not the case. Glasgow City Council will still be seeking “budget savings” options (read: cuts) from departments like cleansing, education, roads maintenance and social work.

Kate Forbes rightly said in her budget speech that “this is a time for certainty and stability”. We are still in the midst of the pandemic and all attention should be on ramping up the vaccination programme and continuing to support everyone who has been affected by this vicious disease.

Let us not forget that Scotland’s economy is still 7.1% smaller than it was before this crisis began in February last year. It is curious therefore, considering the SNP Finance Secretary says it is time for certainty and stability, that it is the policy of her party to pursue a referendum by the end of this year on seceding from the most successful union of nations in history.

Not only that, it is now the policy of the SNP Government – if they are not able to secure the proper legal underpinning for such a vote – to seek to hold a Catalan-style wildcat referendum. I can’t quite think of a course of events more likely to contribute to uncertainty and instability than the reckless ambitions of this SNP Government.

When Nicola Sturgeon next claims, amid fighting with her predecessor and battling accusations that her chief of staff has broken the civil service code of conduct, that her sole focus is the coronavirus pandemic, take that assertion for what it is: a lie.

When SNP councillors in Glasgow next stand up to praise their colleagues in the Scottish Government for reducing the city’s budget slightly less than they did last year, take it as read that they would rather accept the scraps from the table of their Edinburgh masters than take a principled stance in defence of Glasgow.

And when Kate Forbes talks about certainty and stability when in the very next breath her party’s MPs and MSPs are in open revolt about the best strategy to pursue an illegal referendum, take her words as proof that the SNP will do and say anything to make their nationalistic dreams a reality, no matter the nightmare that would ensue for the rest of us.