When Derek Mackay presents the Scottish budget to parliament next week he has many difficult choices facing him.

His predecessors as Finance Secretary had only to decide how the cash Holyrood got from Westminster would be spent.

But Mr Mackay has the ability to raise cash as well with power over income tax at his disposal.

The big question is will he increase income tax or alter the bands to see some people paying more or will he as before leave it as it is.

The strongest hints are that there will be some movement on tax to raise more money for public services.

Last year he was accused of making Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK simply by leaving things unchanged.

This however is not strictly true. What the Scottish Government did was to leave rates and thresholds as they were when the UK Chancellor increased the threshold for the higher rate of tax, giving higher earners a tax cut.

No-one in Scotland ended up paying more in tax as a result. It was just that the people in the rest of the UK would pay less than before.

One alternative to what Mr Macky did was to have a race to the bottom on tax and throw the accusation back at the UK Government.

There has always been an unwillingness to increase income tax because people don’t generally like paying more.

There is now an acceptance among most MSPs that public services are being cut drastically and if this power is at the Scottish Government’s disposal to ease or end austerity it should be used.

To get the backing needed to pass the budget there will need to be some movement on tax.

The Greens, LibDems and Labour all demand the power is used in some way.

To get the votes required for a majority he will need to satisfy one of the other parties on tax.

The Conservatives meanwhile will shout from the rooftops about tartan taxes, cash grabs and picking the pockets of the middle classes.

Then there is the choice of where the money raised is spent.

Local Government has been battered by cuts in recent years. Council services have been cut to the bone and thousands of jobs lost in Glasgow.

It is estimated that using the tax powers could raise upwards of £500m extra for the Scottish Government.

That would go a long way to reversing cuts or certainly stop the need for any more in the coming year.

Glasgow has already lost more than £300m in the last ten years as austerity began to bite following the financial crash.

The effects of cuts are seen in the health service, schools and acutely in social care of vulnerable and elderly people.

The First Minister has also said the Scottish Government will be seeking to lift the public sector pay cap which will cost money.

The task facing Mr Mackay is delicate.

People say they are willing to pay a little more in tax I it is invested in public services.

He has to ensure if he does raise tax it is leads to tangible improvements not just plugging an ever widening financial hole.

Good luck Mr Finance Secretary.