Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 1 July 2010
All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is blue and underlined.
Defence cuts: Concerns that Scotland may bear the brunt of defence cuts were heightened after ministers reneged on an agreement to publish a geographical breakdown of defence spending (Scotsman page 2).
The Gathering: Michael Russell, who as Culture Minister approved an £180,000 loan to the organisers of the Gathering, gave a statement to the Scottish Parliament yesterday stating that the £10.4m generated by the event would have been at risk, along with jobs, had he not approved the loan (Scotsman page 10).
Labour leadership contest: During a visit to Scotland Labour leadership contender Ed Miliband said that the Scottish party should be distinctive and make its own policies (Herald page 6, Times page 21, Telegraph page 10).
Independence referendum: An academic has suggested that Alex Salmond could institute a referendum on independence by order in council without the approval of the Scottish Parliament (Matt Qvortrup, Herald page 15).
Scottish economy: 126,000 Scottish jobs could be lost by 2014-15 as a result of the emergency budget according to a report by economists at the Fraser of Allander Institute. The report also suggests that while Scotland will narrowly escape a double-dip recession, the country would fall behind the rest of the UK in terms of growth. (Scotsman page 1, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Times page 21).
UK job losses: The Labour Party at Westminster yesterday accused the government of hiding the true impact of its emergency budget after leaked Treasury papers suggested 1.3million jobs would be lost. The government responded by saying that the Office of Budget Responsibility revealed that there would have been more job loses under Labour’s spending plans. (Scotsman page 5, Guardian page 1, Times page 12).
Housing market: Experts fear there could be a double-dip recession in the housing market following new evidence of a slowdown last month. UK property prices increased by 0.1% in June compared to a 0.5% jump in May (Scotsman page 20).
Tax varying powers: David Torrance in the Scotsman comments that Alex Salmond should consider campaigning on a platform of raising the current tax-varying powers by 2 or 3 pence after the next Scottish election, a policy which could wrong-foot the Labour Party.
Prison sentences: Yesterday the Scottish Parliament approved the Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill. Measures for automatic prison sentences of six months for anyone caught carrying a knife were rejected. However, proposals to scrap prison sentences of less than three months, a policy first advocated by Reform Scotland in ‘Power to Protect’ published in 2008, were approved (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 6, Times page 17, P&J page 1).
Opponents have highlighted the difference in approach between Ken Clark, the Justice Secretary at Westminster, who wants to reduce the number of short-term sentences, and the Conservatives at Holyrood who disagree with such an approach. (David Maddox in the Scotsman, Telegraph page 4, Alan Cochrane in Telegraph, P&J page 7).
Police cuts: The President of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS) has called for senior officers to admit that police numbers may fall and that forces will have to cut some of their community work (Herald page 1).
Children’s panel: Senior staff at the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) and the Scottish Children’s Commission have warned that youngsters are sometimes unknowingly agreeing to have a criminal record until the age of 40 because they appear before Children’s Hearings without legal advice (Herald page 10).