This article appears as part of the Unspun: Scottish Politics newsletter.

A few minutes into her budget statement to Holyrood yesterday the Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary Shona Robison made a passing reference to the SNP's partners in government.

"We have worked with our Scottish Green Party colleagues to present a budget that is true to our shared priorities," she stated.

It was no coincidence that Ms Robison's nod to the Greens came just ahead of her announcement on increasing taxes for higher earners.

The Greens were instrumental in the push for considerable reforms to income tax in Scotland which brought in the five band system north of the Border back in 2016 and the policy of higher earners paying more north of the Border than they do in the rest of the UK.

They would have been delighted with the budget proposal in Ms Robison's speech to introduce a new sixth band, the 'advanced rate', set at 45p for people earning between £75,000 and £125,140; and with the plan to increase the top rate by 1p to 48p.

And they would have been fully behind her decision to maintain the higher-rate and top-rate thresholds at their current levels of £43,662 and £125,140, a move the Finance Secretary estimated would yield an extra £307 million to the public purse through income tax next year.

But beyond the new income tax reform, there was little sign of Green fingerprints on the plans Ms Robison unveiled both in her address to Holyrood and in the official published documents.

Many policy areas held dear by the party led by Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, both of whom sit in government as junior ministers following the Bute House Agreement in 2021, were targeted for massive cuts.

Active travel – essentially getting people out of their cars by building new cycling and footpaths networks – had its budget cut by £42m. The Just Transition Fund saw a cut of  £37.8 million - despite a Government pledge to provide £50 million annually over the next decade.

Some £63 million has also been stripped from the Future Transport Fund, while Scottish Forestry has seen a reduction in funding of £33.4 million.

Public transport took a huge hit too. Funding for rail, bus and ferry services was cut by £80million, £7m and £5m respectively (though concessionary fares received a boost of £11m).

Yet spending in areas not favoured by the Greens were given additional resources.

Funding to upgrade the trunk road network was increased by a whooping £210m, while air travel services received an additional £6m.

All these measures come on top of the budget's centrepiece – the council tax freeze, which was announced by First Minister Humza Yousaf in his speech to the SNP conference in October and which the Greens were not told about beforehand.

The Herald: Many flanks of the Greens policy platform saw cuts in the 2024/25 Scottish budgetMany flanks of the Greens policy platform saw cuts in the 2024/25 Scottish budget (Image: Newsquest)
Out of government, the Greens, who see strengthening local democracy as a core aim and principle, would absolutely have been vocal in their opposition to the council tax freeze. But in government, well they just had to get on with it.

Ms Slater conceded it was "frustrating" that they hadn't been consulted on the decision and argued her party would be "pushing hard" during the budget process to ensure councils receive adequate funding from the government to cover the costs of freezing the levy.

Cosla, the council's umbrella group, meets tomorrow to discuss their response, but it's likely local authorities will say the £144m (equivalent to a 5% rise) earmarked to compensate them for the freeze is far from sufficient.

Economists at the Fraser of Allander Institute calculated it would cost the government around £300m to make good all the monies councils expected to raise.

The budget announcements follow a series of U-turns made on environmental issues since Mr Yousaf succeeded Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister in the Spring.

The struggling deposit return scheme was finally shelved with blame put on the UK Government for not allowing the Scottish recycling initiative to include glass. (On a recent family holiday to Schleswig Holstein, I couldn't help but notice a DRS scheme running apparently quite adequately without glass).

Plans to restrict fishing off at least 10% of Scotland's coast under new highly protected marine zones were also scrapped as was a target to have more than a million homes powered by renewable energy such as heat pumps by 2030.

And today the government will drop its court fight against the UK Government's use of the Section 35 order against the Gender Recognition Reform Bill – a piece of legislation strongly championed by the Greens.

Read more:

UnspunAnalysis: Shona Robison and the grim 'tax and axe' budget

It's clear with these developments the Green tail is no longer wagging the SNP dog, as critics of the Bute House Agreement put it both inside and outside the SNP during the height of the Greens' influence.

Many in the SNP will be pleased with the rebalancing of the dynamic between the two parties.

But what of the Greens?

Party chiefs enjoy their position in government and with polls suggesting the Greens have gained support through it, they will make the case for continuing the arrangement.

But the Scottish Greens' grassroots may be less ready to accept the status quo.

Recent weeks have seen a stirring of unrest about internal party matters with the resignation of Ellie Gomersall as co-chair of the Scottish Greens' executive committee and the risk now for the leadership is that such unrest could spill over into the merit of propping up the SNP in power.

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Senior Green MSPs were pressed robustly by members at the party's 2022 autumn conference about the benefits to the party of the Bute House Agreement – at a time when the Greens were seen as significant partners of a highly popular party.

With the Greens' influence in government now weakening and the SNP losing support among voters, expect those questions to get even tougher.