Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

How was the budget deal reached?

The Scottish Government has secured enough support to pass its budget for the coming year after striking a deal with the Liberal Democrats, even though they earlier helped vote down the 33bn spending plans.

In return for the party's backing, ministers have agreed to take forward a five-point strategy for boosting the economy put forward by the Lib Dems.

But what has been put on the table?


MORE POWERS FOR THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT

At the insistence of the Lib Dems, the Scottish Government has agreed to make a submission to the Calman Commission, which is reviewing devolution in Scotland, 10 years on.

The commission, voted into being at Holyrood by Scotland's pro-Union parties - also including Labour and the Tories - has been strongly criticised by the SNP for ruling out the option of discussing independence.

But, amid the current financial crisis, ministers agreed that the long-standing commitment of the Lib Dems to give borrowing powers to the Scottish Parliament, rather than relying on the UK Treasury block grant, had been given added weight.

The SNP and the Lib Dems will therefore work on a joint presentation to the commission on the issue.

PUBLIC SPENDING REVIEW

A perfect example - almost - of how the SNP minority government can seek consensus on particular issues.

Ministers and the Lib Dems were both keen to take forward a review of public spending in Scotland, but for different reasons.

The Lib Dems said it was needed to cut tax, while the SNP argued Scotland was facing real challenges from the efficiency savings drive announced in the UK Government's pre-Budget report.

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney has said this will cut 500m off the 2010-11 Scots budget and hopes to join forces with the Liberal Democrats to stop it happening.

SCOTTISH FUTURES TRUST

The Scottish Futures Trust, designed by the Nationalists with the aim of creating a more cost-effective way of paying for public infrastructure projects - such as hospitals - has come in for opposition criticism.

Under the Lib Dem deal, ministers have now confirmed the first schools to be built under the PPP/PFI alternative will be commissioned this year.

Sceptics said the policy had been on the cards for some time.

COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS

The Scottish Government agreed to a Lib Dem proposal to ask its Council of Economic Advisers for more involvement to tackle economic recovery - although that could be seen as something it should be doing already.

But the group, overseen by former Royal Bank of Scotland chair Sir George Mathewson, will also assess the government's approach to its budget.


FINANCE SECTOR JOBS TASK FORCE

In the wake of on-going unrest and uncertainty over Scotland's finance industry, ministers will set up a jobs task force.

It would fall within the existing Financial Services Advisory Board, and would require the group to meet more frequently.

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SEE ALSO
Deal done to pass Scottish budget
03 Feb 09 |  Scotland
SNP 'confident' on Scots budget
29 Jan 09 |  Scotland
Scottish budget rejected by MSPs
28 Jan 09 |  Scotland
Q&A: Scottish budget rejection
29 Jan 09 |  Scotland
Scots budget faces uphill battle
27 Jan 09 |  Scotland

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