JOHN Swinney will today urge MSPs to support his tax and spending plans and make Scotland a fairer place, while admitting the government “cannot do everything”.

The deputy First Minister and acting Finance Secretary will speak ahead of the final vote on the £60 billion Scottish Budget for 2023/24.

Mr Swinney said it would help “those most impacted by the cost of living crisis”, protect public services, tackle child poverty and invest in the transition to net zero.

The parliament has already passed the resolution which sets the income tax rates and thresholds from April, with increases for high earners.

The higher and top rates of tax go up by 1p to 42p and 47p respectively, with the threshold for the higher rate frozen at £43,663 and the top rate threshold lowered from £150,000 to £125,140.

Those earning £50,000 will pay around £1,500 more in Scotland than in England.

The Budget has provoked a fierce row with Scotland’s councils, who say it will leave them without enough to cope with inflation and increasing demands from ministers.

Mr Swinney said he hoped all parties would recognise the “challenging economic conditions” meant focusing “limited resources where they are needed most”.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said Scotland’s tax and benefits system have made it “considerably more progressive” than elsewhere in the UK.

Mr Swinney said the devolved Scottish Child Payment has risen from £10 to £25 in just eight months, and all other Scottish benefits would be uprated by 10.1 per cent from April.

He said that as well as a £5.2bn investment in Social Security, progressive choices on Scottish income tax had helped deliver a record £19bn for health and social care.

He said: “This addresses the key challenges faced and strengthens our social contract with Scotland’s people.

“The Budget rejects austerity and provides relief for those in most need.

“It invests in transforming the economy and creating sustainable, high quality jobs which pay a fair wage, while confirming our commitment to future generations by continuing the drive towards net zero.

“I reiterate our support for Scotland’s local authorities, which deliver crucial services to communities.

“We cannot do everything, but this represents a more progressive path which asks everyone to contribute their fair share towards creating a fair, inclusive and successful Scotland.”

But Tory MSP Liz Smith said the reality was “savage cuts”, especially in local government.

She said: “The SNP-Green Government’s reckless mismanagement of Scotland’s finances has led to savage cuts, despite the largest block grants since devolution began and the highest income tax rates of any part of the UK.

“This has particularly hit councils, underfunded and neglected by Holyrood for years, with a devastating impact for services.

“Yet the SNP Government has ploughed on with its plans for a National Care Service, for which hundreds of millions has been budgeted although the details about how, or whether, it will work are almost non-existent.

“The SNP Government should immediately divert this funding to local councils, to address the real needs of people and staff, rather than squander it on yet another centralised and ill-thoughtout vanity project.”

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer said the Budget was protection from “possibly the worst and most reckless Tory government in history.”

He said: “We have increased the number of children who can access free school meals and are funding an increase in the amount of the Scottish Child Payment and removing peak rail fares.

“This is also the greenest Budget in the history of the Scottish Parliament, with over £2bn to tackle the climate and nature crises.

“We have raised the highest rates of income tax as well as the second/holiday home tax, so that the highest earners and those buying extra properties chip in a bit more to fund our public services. This is the difference made by Greens in Government. This is what a fairer, greener, more equal Scotland can look like.

“Contrast that with a Westminster government which has driven the UK to the brink of recession, lifted the cap on bankers’ bonuses and tanked the economy."