Magazine article Public Finance

Scottish Budget Passed after Labour Abstains

Magazine article Public Finance

Scottish Budget Passed after Labour Abstains

Article excerpt

The future of the Scottish National Party government led by First Minister Alex Salmond was secured when its first budget was approved by MSPs this week.

Salmond had threatened to resign and throw Scotland into an unwanted election if the ?30bn budget was voted down by the Holyrood Parliament, in which his Scottish National Party holds only a minority of seats.

But in the vital vote on February 6, the Labour opposition sprang a surprise by joining Liberal Democrats and Green MSPs in abstaining, giving the government a bloodless victory. Its main proposals, including a council tax freeze, will now go ahead. The vote was 64 in favour and one against, with 60 abstentions.

Salmond and Finance Minister John Swinney had spent the past week negotiating with the Tories and the two Green MSPs, as well as the one independent member, Margo MacDonald, to ensure the budget's passage. …

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