Daily Political Media Summary: 24/06/10

Politics

GERs: Yesterday the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland was published. John Swinney, the finance secretary, has said that Scotland could have been £1.3 billion ‘in the black’ if it had received its “geographical share” of North Sea Oil. Labour politicians however, argued against this suggesting that ministers had “fixed the figures”, and that Scotland has a deficit of almost £4 billion. It was said that the SNP statistics had ignored the £70 billion of taxpayer’s money spent on rescuing the Royal Bank of Scotland. (The Scotsman page 14, The Herald page 6, The Daily Express page 2, The Times page 3, The Daily Mail page 2)

 

Government Bailout: It has been revealed that the Scottish Government secretly gave Gathering 2009 Ltd a £180,000 bailout before any financial checks had been made. The company that held the event for Homecoming Scotland, collapsed in January with over £720,000 of debt, just after it received the emergency payment. (The Herald page 7, The Sun Page 4, The Daily Express page 2, The Times page 19, The Daily Mail, page 4)

 

Economy

Budget: Speculation by the Institute of Fiscal Studies suggests that the effects of the cuts announced yesterday may be far worse than what the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, initially described. Its report stated that taking £13 billion off the welfare budget was the only way to reduce the level of cuts. Osborne agreed saying that cuts on top of the £11 billion already intended would ease the pressure and reduce the cuts on public spending to an average of 25 per cent. (The Scotsman page 4, The Guardian page 1, The Daily Express page 7, The Daily Mail page 6)

 

Fiscal Powers: Geoff Mawdsley, Director of Reform Scotland argues in the Scotsman that for the benefit of Scotland, as well as that of the union, additional fiscal powers must be devolved. 

 

Justice

Drink-Driving: 39 cars have been confiscated and crushed from repeat drink-drive offenders. Over the last six months these sanctions have been utilised as a harsh deterrent on the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol. (The Scotsman page 7, The Herald page 4)

 

Jail Sentences: The SNP has compromised on its original plan, disapproving of jail sentences of six months or less. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill hope this compromise will win the support of the Liberal Democrats for a new policy deterring jail sentences of three months or less. (The Scotsman page 2, The Herald page 1, The Daily Express page 10, The Daily Mail page 19)

 

Transport 

Tram Works: Reports that a section of the tram work from the east of the city centre to Newhaven will be scrapped have been rejected by the tram chiefs. They say they still intend to finish the entire route, even if it requires a new contractor. (The Scotsman page 7, The Daily Mail page 34)

 

Bus Fare Concessions: The boss of Stagecoach, Brian Souter, has called on the government to focus cuts on transport areas such as, road building and rail infrastructure to ensure protection of such areas as concessionary bus fares. He stated that the rise in fuel prices has cost the company £22 million, and further cuts will reduce their profits further. (The Scotsman Business page 1)

 

 

Local Government

Cuts: Cuts will be more severe than expected in Glasgow as City officials have been forced to redraft their financial plans for next year. They announced that a further £40 million will need to be saved by 2011/12, the cuts expected to target the 2014 games, and the new transport museum. (The Herald page 1)

 

Council Housing: A law to ban tenants from purchasing newly built council houses has won the backing of MSPs. The right to buy would be restricted in all new council residencies across Scotland. (The Scotsman page 2, The Herald Page 7)

 

Health

Drug Use: A United Nations report has stated that Scotland has the highest level of adults using cocaine in the world. In 2009 figures illustrated that 3.7 per cent of Scotland’s adult population use cocaine. The report also stated that the flow of cocaine to Europe has been “growing rapidly”. (The Scotsman page 12)

 

Education

St Margaret’s School: The school is set to close after the parents abandon their campaign to raise £2.5 million. It is understood that a bids have been made for the nursery, but funds for the rescue of the primary and secondary schools proved unattainable. (The Scotsman page 8, The Herald page 4)

 

School Curriculum: A vote is to be made tomorrow over the industrial action concerning the new school curriculum. It is thought that thousands of teachers will be in support of a work to rule, instead of the controversial system. (The Scotsman page 16)