29 Jan 2009

Scottish govt loses budget vote

8:17 am on 29 January 2009

The government of Scotland has failed to pass its budget for the coming year in a hung vote in the Holyrood assembly.

Votes on Wednesday were evenly matched: 64-64. Presiding officer Alex Fergusson broke the tie by casting the deciding vote against the bill.

Afterwards, Finance Secretary John Swinney said new budget proposals would be put to the parliament "within a matter of days".

The current government, headed by Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond, took power as a minority administration in May 2007 after defeating a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition in an election.

Failure to pass a budget could throw the future of the administration into doubt.

The devolved Scottish parliament was officially opened for the first time by Queen Elizabeth on 1 July, 1999. Its responsibilities include law, education, medical care and policing, but not taxation.