Friday, 30 January 2009

3 U-Turns to Unanimity for Budget Mk II?

Well from having a dead tie it appears that the SNP have knuckles down and are attempting to bring all three opposition parties on board with concessions to their initial budget. Unanimity could be the ultimate prize if the negotiations com off.

The Lib Dems were first up to the plate yesterday offering to take the Income Tax break off the agenda and instead look for a level of greater fiscal autonomy is working with the Nats to lobby Westminster to allow the Scottish Parliament the power to borrow outwith the block grant. This could in theory path the way for future income tax reductions without necessarily affecting the level of spending to fully compensate.

Labour's Iain Grey that his party's demands for 7,800 new apprentices over the next 3 years could be reduced to two years. It is believed this will cost between £45million and £90 million, but after talks with the Finance Minister John Swinney it was believed that to ensure unanimity that these funds could be found.

Which leads to the Greens who is such addition funds had been available for their insulation in homes proposal on Wednesday Mk I of the budget may well have passed. If the £33million that was granted to them on Wednesday can come out of fresh funds and not affect other fuel poverty funding they may well in a place to accept the budget. Their issue was that to be green in one area the Nats were being less green elsewhere.

So with discussions already underway yesterday and the Greens going for talks today their is a tight timetable to try and get Mk II of the 2009 Budget through its various stages by 11 February. If Alex Salmond does manage to get full unanimity it may be worth his while in starting talks for next years budget immediately so we don't have to go through this whole rigmarole again in twelve months time.

1 comment:

  1. I think we'd be better off trying to get some of the specifics from our manifesto which Caron and I highlighted over the past couple of days, rather than this vague assurance of some sort of joint campaign with the Gnats for something which might not be granted for a long time, if at all. Not sure how good an idea it is to borrow money in order to cut tax anyway.