NICOLA Sturgeon has been accused of risking “disaster” for Scottish businesses by forging stronger ties with the Scottish Greens.

The First Minister announced yesterday that she was in talks with the Greens about striking a “formal cooperation agreement” for the rest of the parliament.

Although it would stop short of a coalition, it would be more formal than previous ad hoc Green support for the SNP, and could see Greens entering government as ministers.

At FMQs, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said the Scottish Government needed to “reset” its relationship with businesses he claimed were being failed over Covid support.

He said it was already regarded in some quarters as “anti-business” and the potential deal with the Scottish Greens would only makde that worse.

He said: “Instead of business people who understand how to create jobs, it’s the Greens who might get a seat around the First Minister’s table.

“A Green party that doesn’t even believe in economic growth and a Green party that wants to risk the entire oil and gas industry and the tens of thousands of jobs it supports.

“This SNP Government does need to reset its relationship with business. Does the First Minister honestly believe a coalition with the Greens is the way to do that?”

Ms Sturgeon replied: “I think most people across the country, and most responsible businesses that I speak to and have interaction with, know that, yes, it is important to support a strong, vibrant, sustainable economy

"But it is also vital - in fact, it is a moral imperative - to do that in a way that meets our obligations to the planet and delivers our climate change targets.

“From that last question, I’m not sure that the climate is patriculary high up the agenda of Douglas Ross.

"We wil continue to make sure that we support industry, that we support the economy, but that we also support the country to move to net zero [carbon emissions] which is a key priority, and should be a key priority for all of us.”

Mr Ross said later: “A nationalist coalition with the Greens is a disaster for anyone who was hoping to see an end to the SNP’s anti-business approach.”

Also at FMQs, Tory MSP Murdo Fraser claimed “concerns have already been raised” in the Highlands about the impact of an SNP-Green coalition halting work to dual the A9.

Ms Sturgeon said Mr Fraser seemed to be desperately trying to stir up such concerns. 

She said: “This Government ‘s commitment to the A9 is clear and this Government’s commitment to the A9 continues.”

The Scottish Greens’ Holyrood manifesto called for an end to new licences for oil and gas exploration, an end to tax breaks for the North Sea industry, and an end to public funding for new road building projects.

It also called for an annual 1 per cent “millionaire’s tax” on wealth and assets above £1m, including land, property, pensions and other assets.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Greens said: “The Tories are in no place to talk about supporting businesses when Brexit has thrown so many Scottish firms to the wolves.

"Their interests are not in a real ‘reset’ which would empower ethical and sustainable community businesses to lead the recovery, but about going back to the failed economics which favoured big businesses who pay poverty wages, hide their profits offshore and donate to the Conservative party.

“Scotland faces unprecedented challenges and needs a new kind of politics, not outdated and unwanted Tory cronyism.”