I am concerned that the budget being brought forward for this year by the Finance Secretary disproportionately cuts the budgets of local councils who end up taking a bigger share of the austerity cuts. For me this is of real concern given that councils are already suffering from the fact that the council tax freeze is underfunded and they have been dealing with a real terms cash cut year on year for many years now.
It is also a concern given that in my view councils are at the coal face when it comes to tackling the unacceptable levels of poverty and deprivation that exists in far to many of our communities.
The other major concern I have about this budget is its failure to bring forward a coherent joined up strategy for tacking inequality and poverty. Indeed, my observations of the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament is there is no focussed joined up approach to tackling these issues, plenty of rhetoric, plenty of individual strategies within the portfolios and committees but a complete lack of joined up thinking and joined up government.
I tried to get some of these points across in the five minutes I was allowed to speak for in the budget debate and I will continue to focus on these issues as the budget progresses.