Monday, February 2, 2009

A belt and braces budget

So Alex Salmond will meet Iain Gray tomorrow in an attempt to thrash out a deal that will allow the Scottish Budget to pass unanimously or near-unanimously. But, even though Labour have scrapped their previous shopping-list of demands in favour of a slightly more realistic bottom line, there remains one obvious unanswered (and to a surprising extent unasked) question. If the SNP government were so obviously struggling to find the extra £11 million to lock down the two Green votes last week, how are they supposed to suddenly stump up the extra £60-90 million Labour want for apprenticeships? And if the SNP already feel they have the basis for a deal with the Liberal Democrats, would they be willing to risk not paying the price for Labour's support? Perhaps after what happened with the Greens last week, the SNP's mantra for all future negotiations may well be - belt, and braces.

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