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A done deal?

Brian Taylor | 16:17 UK time, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

More re the Budget. The deal with the Lib Dems is on, pretty much as outlined earlier.

Additional aspects of the agreement include a financial jobs task force, a new role for the Council of Economic Advisers and a guaranteed revenue stream to support school building projects which will emerge through the Scottish Futures Trust.

As to Labour, my guess is they will go for it. Their group considered the possible deal - again as outlined earlier.

Why do I think they'll go for it? Because momentum matters in politics - and co-operation is now definitely the direction of travel.

I expect Labour frontbenchers to stress that they have obtained all they were seeking on apprenticeships: in the current budget year.

Formal offer

They don't have cast iron promises for future years - not least because ministers say those years will be tight. Labour simply has to live with that.

Expect Labour also to stress other elements: the guarantee that apprentices whose firms go bust will be helped; money for town centre redevelopment (I know, I know, the Tories claim that as theirs); and money for helping areas which suffer economic reverse.

The Greens, too, are awaiting a formal offer. I think they'll go for it too.

Unanimous support, anyone? If that happens, I would somehow anticipate that the subterranean muttering about John Swinney - which I disdained previously - may subside somewhat.


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