Thursday, 4 February 2010

SNP Government Budget passed

Great news to see the SNP Government's budget passed. Some may speak of concessions, but it's the necessity of a minority Government to skilfully manoeuvre a consensus and I think that the Cabinet Secretary for Finance has played the game expertly.

After last year's brinkmanship and shenanigans, things seemed to go very smoothly - although as Will succinctly points out, Labour are still far from being a responsible opposition. They sound less and less convincing every day. Their UK website gives no headline to indicate what they're up to in Holyrood, and it's really no surprise - there's nothing of note to report.

Their Scottish website fails to recognise that the SNP are actually bringing in the boiler scrappage scheme, so they really ought to get rid of this very misleading graphic. Labour also try to get stuck into the Tories for objecting to the further cut in prescription charges, while failing to acknowledge that they themselves voted against the cut by rejecting our budget!

Anyway, having got that off my chest, more positive stuff...

The further reduction in prescription charges is wonderful news. In April, the cost will fall to only £3, while in England, the cost of a prescription is at present an eye-watering £7.20. Lowering the cost helps those most at need, but it's also an important principle. Suffering from an illness that requires prescription medication is difficult enough - people shouldn't feel they have to go without, or decide which medicines to prioritise, through poverty or pride.

I'm very pleased to hear that the small business bonus scheme has been tweaked, increasing the threshold, to continue support to help companies through the recession. The significance of this scheme can be seen in shopping streets throughout Glasgow; on Duke Street, the Gallowgate and Bridgeton Cross, wee businesses have opened providing local people with a range of goods and services. These businesses make our communities viable, and it's great to know our government is doing what they can to help in these difficult times.

It reassuring to hear that an Independent Budget Review will be established to consider the implications of forecasts of reductions in public spending in Scotland. We need to be prepared, and realistic about the future; all parties should find a way to engage productively.

PS - I've also noticed this fairly unfortunate typo-strewn piece on the Labour website...

The independent Literacy Commission, set up by Scottish Labour, has reported.
Iain Gray said: "We need a revolution in literacy teaching our schools and we will argue for that in opposition and once in office we will pursue this relentlessly. This report is huge wake-up call for Scotland."

Dearie me, bad things indeed are...

No comments: