Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 19 July 2012
All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is highlighted and underlined. In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV News and Sky News.
Nuclear arsenal trade: First Minister Alex Salmond has reportedly indicated that an independent Scotland could seek to trade in Britain’s Scottish-based nuclear arsenal for “something more useful” as part of negotiations for independence. The statement came as Mr Salmond reportedly backed the participation of an independent Scotland in Nato. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 5, The Telegraph page 1)
Same-sex marriage: Despite pressure from the Catholic Church, Alex Salmond re-affirmed his personal support for same-sex marriage. Mr Salmond indicated that a vote would be held in Parliament on the issue although legislation has yet to be introduced. He rejected the call by the Roman Catholic Church for a referendum on the subject, saying that it is an “issue of conscience, not constitution”. (The Herald page 6, Iain MacWhirter in the Herald, The Scotsman page 5, The Telegraph page 5)
SNP alcohol policy challenged: The Scottish government’s policy to introduce a minimum price for alcohol is reportedly to face a legal challenge from the drinks industry. A package of measures in opposition to the legislation is expected to be announced today by the Scottish Whisky Association. (The Scotsman page 1)
Scotland in the Olympics: Should the referendum on independence succeed, Alex Salmond has indicated that Scotland will field its own Olympic team. (The Telegraph page 7).
Capital projects proposal: Alex Salmond has called upon the UK government to borrow another £5 billion for investment in capital projects, with £400 million of that sum to be spent in Scotland. His remarks came as official figures indicated that Scotland had followed the UK back into the recession. He encouraged public building projects to help a struggling construction industry and VAT relief on home improvements to stimulate new construction. Despite the declining figures in the construction industry, growth was seen in the service and production sectors. (The Herald page 8, The Times page 9, The Telegraph page 13, Daily Express page 2, Daily Record page 6, The Sun page 5, Press & Journal page 11)
Milk pricing disputes: Lobby group Farmers for Action said that it will extend a 48-hour blockade of farms, disrupting service at distribution centres, supermarkets and milk processing firms, if prices paid to dairies are not changed. The FFA says that reductions in the prices paid to farmers have created an unreasonable burden on dairies. (The Herald page 3, The Telegraph page 17)
Summer childcare cutbacks: Scottish councils have slashed subsidies to summer childcare programmes, leading to fee increases of 22% over the past year. Parents are facing difficulties finding childcare during the holidays, especially when attempting to find care for children with special needs and in rural areas. (The Herald page 1, Financial Times page 4)
Drugs and gangs crackdown: The Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency has tackled more organised gangs than ever before and arrested 75 of the most dangerous criminals. A report issued by the agency revealed 194 arrests, the seizure of 782 kilogrammes of illegal drugs, and £1 million in cash. (The Herald page 4, The Scotsman page 17, The Times page 9)
Heart attack and stroke prevention: A new all-in-one polypill being tested shows the potential to reduce major risk factors for heart attack and stroke. The pill could be made available in less than two years and save tens of thousands of lives each year. (The Herald page 3, The Scotsman page 20, The Telegraph page 1, Daily Record page 15, Scottish Daily Mail page 1)
Doctors suspend strike action: Doctors decided against industrial action over changes to their pension scheme but the British Medical Association warned that they have not ruled out further action if negotiations with the UK government fail. (The Herald page 1, The Scotsman page 1)