FINANCE Secretary Derek Mackay has said he was “proud” to give Renfrewshire a key role in the country’s future as he delivered the Scottish Government’s draft budget.

The Renfrewshire North and West MSP set out Scotland’s spending and taxation plans for the next 12 months at Holyrood last week – and insists the budget is ‘good news’ for local residents.

Mr Mackay announced £80million will go towards setting up a National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland at Inchinnan, as well as making a promise to build more affordable homes.

He also announced plans to make superfast broadband available to every home and business in Scotland by 2021 and bring in a new five-band income tax system, including an intermediate rate of 21p for those earning from £24,001 to £44,273 and a starter rate of 19p for those earning £11,850 to £13,850.

However, opposition politicians have slammed his plans for bringing in a real-terms cut for councils, fearing this will affect lifeline services.

Work on the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland will begin next year – and Mr Mackay believes it will see Renfrewshire become a hub for the future.

He said: “Renfrewshire is already a fundamental part of the engine of Scotland’s economy. I’m particularly proud of the National Manufacturing Institute of Scotland coming to Renfrewshire – and Inchinnan specifically.

“It is so empowering to be in a position where you can make decisions that directly support your constituency. It’s the right location – anyone analysing it will say that because of our transport links and skilled and enthusiastic people – but this is preparing for the future, this is investing for the technology and the industries for the future.”

The SNP man said he also felt the promise of tens of thousands of affordable homes across the country will help to tackle deprivation and homelessness in Renfrewshire, while the continuation of the Small Business Bonus Scheme will help new firms stay on their feet.

He said: “When I was Renfrewshire Council leader, I invested in the existing council housing so that every house met the Scottish housing quality standard. I’m now embarking on transformational housing investment.

“As for the Small Business Bonus Scheme, I’m convinced this has been a lifeline to our town centres in Renfrewshire.”

However, Mr Mackay’s spending plans have been criticised by West of Scotland MSP Neil Bibby, with the Labour man highlighting “threats to vital services” in Renfrewshire.

Mr Bibby said: “Councils are to expect a further real-terms cut of £135million from day-to-day spending in 2018/19, when what they needed was an additional £545million just to stand still.

“These cuts are not numbers only evident on a spreadsheet, they represent lifelines and public sector jobs for many local people.

“Derek Mackay has been silent on the threats to vital services in Renfrewshire. We can only assume that he supports these cuts, as it’s really his choices that are forcing them to happen.

“Mr Mackay may be the Finance Secretary but his first job is to stand up for his constituents in Renfrewshire.

“Once again, however, he is cutting Renfrewshire’s budget.”