Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson followed parliamentary protocol to vote for the status quo when his casting vote is required.

Although elected as a Conservative MSP, he does not vote with his party, who supported the bill, and is impartial in the chamber.

Earlier this month, at a previous Budget hearing, Mr Fergusson said if his vote was needed, he would have supported the government's bill which would have allowed time for more debate and negotiation. But on a third stage vote he votes for the status quo, which is last year's Budget.

Mr Fergusson and his two predecessors have all used their casting vote in the past, but none as politically significant as yesterday's vote.

In September 2007 following a parliamentary debate on Glasgow's housing problems, a Labour amendment ended tied at 60 votes on either side.

Mr Fergusson then used his casting vote to defeat the amendment.

In 2003, a shake-up of the fire service was defeated after Presiding Officer George Reid used his casting vote following a Labour back- bench rebellion which left a vote tied at 56 each.

The Scottish Executive had sought to amend the Local Government in Scotland Bill by introducing measures allowing fire chiefs and fire boards to close stations without first seeking ministerial permission.

In 2002 David Steele used his vote to appoint Professor Alice Brown, of Edinburgh University, to the unified post of ombudsman for all public services.

The current presiding officer was returned for the Galloway and Upper Nithsdale seat in the Scottish Parliament in 2007 with an increased majority (3333).

After being elected to the prestigious position of presiding officer soon afterwards, he resigned from the Conservative Party to enable him to perform his duties in an impartial manner, while retaining his commitment to his constituents.