Thursday, 24 January 2008

It's a budget!

So… we have the beginnings of a Budget. Great stuff from the SNP group at Holyrood, particularly John Swinney on the budget itself, Brian Adam as the Chief Whip and Bruce Crawford on… well, everything behind the scenes really.

The vote was close – it was always going to be close with the parliamentary maths – but with the support of the Tories (who did not ask for much) and Margo thanks to capital city funding for Edinburgh, and the abstention from the Greens – did enough to secure a 64-62 split in favour of the proposals.

The budget will now go forward to stage 2 before returning – with only government amendments for a final, stage 3, debate in the chamber in early February.

So was it close? Yes. Did I worry a wee bit even when the voting was taking place? Yes, I’ll admit that. But seeing Bruce look relaxed (for the first time in months) was a bit of an indication that the numbers were there.

And at the end of the day, that’s all that was needed. A confirmation that the Government’s agenda for the next 3 years could be accepted in principle by the Parliament. Narrowly or resoundingly – a win is a win. And this was one of the most important wins yet.

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