Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The devolved parliament was tied 64-64 on the motion to approve the budget after two Green Party MSPs switched away from backing the minority Scottish National Party (SNP) administration. The Presiding Officer (speaker) of the parliament, Alex Fergusson, used his casting vote to reject the budget. Finance Secretary John Swinney of the SNP announced that he would immediately reintroduce it. The budget had the backing of the Scottish Conservatives.
Green MSPs had sought a £100 million, 10-year home insulation scheme, whilst the Scottish government had offered a smaller pilot scheme. This offer was increased as the vote approached but failed to convince the Greens to back the budget.
If a new budget is not in place by the start of the financial year in April, the current budget will rollover. However, Scottish ministers say this will cause a £1.8 billion cut in spending.
Scotland’s GDP fell by 0.8% in the last quarter.