Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Swinney Calling For Budget Unity on Difficult Voyage

John Swinney looks certain to clear the first hurdle in getting the SNP Government's budget past its first stage this week after Labour have said they will not vote against it, yet. He still faces and uphill task to secure the votes necessary to pass it later this month as all three of the other main parties have issues with the £33bn spending plans. Although he has already secured the two Green Party votes.

Labour have said that while they will not block it at this first step they "are looking for some big concessions on jobs and there will be some tough negotiations over the next fortnight."

Annabel Goldie and the Conservatives, whose support secured the budget last year, has said her party will not support it if plans to drop last year's concessions to fund extra police officers, a national drugs strategy, and business rate cuts for small firms are included. Or if their aren't proposals in the new budget to help hard-pressed families and businesses.

However, both the Tories and Labour are prepared to support, or at least not vote against it at this first vote tomorrow. The Lib Dems have already indicated that they will vote against it. Leader Tavish Scott saying "No other government, national or devolved, in western Europe has made such a meagre response to this economic storm" backing his call for a 2p cut in income tax.

Whilst calling for support Swinney has also said:

"We are prepared to listen to reasonable ideas and proposals from across
the parliament.

"In these difficult times, there is a responsibility on parliament, as
well as the government, to meet that challenge and not jeopardise the
accelerated investment and jobs by standing in the way of the budget."

So if as looks likely it passes this first vote and passed on to the scrutiny stage it looks as if there will terse and tense negotiations ahead.


  1. Stephen, I say this in the friendliest possible manner, but you must be at least a little peeved at how the Lib Dems have played the budget. No?

    - Calling for a 2p unfunded tax cut
    - Refusing to budge on this and consequently refusing to seek out any sort of concessions from the LD 2007 manifesto
    - Sending in Mike Rumbles to do the negotiations

    All the other parties have taken perfectly reasonable approaches but Tavish Scott has left activists like yourself with nothing to campaign on, nothing to work with other than an unfunded tax cut.

    You can't shoehorn a 2p tax cut into the equation at the 11th hour, especially when calling for a 4bn treasure trove of extra spending at the same time.

    Surely. Surely, you must be a little frustrated?

  2. G'day Jeff I guessed it was you and most of the other commentators on my blog would not have been up so early.

    Actually no Jeff you are wrong on so many counts what does peeve me off has been Alex Salmond saying he will do everything to help those Scots who are suffering at this time. But only looking out for the Banks and big Business.

    As for the unfundedness of the tax cut or otherwise, I say the funds are there and you will argue to kingdom come with me over that. The Brown/Darling financial stimulous package has come from nowhere.

    2007 Manifesto promises are currently the furtherest from the voters minds they now care about the here and now.

    As for shoehorning a tax cut in at the 1th hour, we've been calling for it since the summer.

    Earlier in this Government you accused us of not standing for anything. To be a feeble partry on the way out with no narrative and nothing to campaign on. Now we offer an alternative, a strong stance onsomething and refuse to budge you also accuse us of having nothing to campaign on. D'oh while I may have agreed with the statement earlier, I don't now.

    We need solutions to ease our way out of this situation. Yes they will cost, but now as much as if we pussyfoot around doing as little as possible. This is time for strong leadership not looking out for the budget minutiae. If ever there was timne for braod brush strokes it is now.

    (As for Mike Rumbles are you forgetting who I backed for leader)