Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 8 April 2013
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.
Better Together funders: The Unionist Better Together campaign has amassed a campaign war chest of £2 million. Donors include the chairman of HSBC and Ian Taylor, a Scots oil trader who donated £500,000. The campaign has been criticised for accepting large donations from non-Scottish donors with Yes Scotland arguing that donations from foreign donors should be limited to £500. The Yes campaign faces pressure to release its list of donors in response to the announcement. (Sunday Herald page 1, The Scotsman page 1, Daily Telegraph page 8, Daily Record page 6)
Opposition to cuts: The SNP, Labour, and union activists have spoken out against changes to the welfare system which, according to some calculations, would leave the highest earners better off than before while making far-reaching cuts to low-earners. First Minister Alex Salmond, writing in the Sunday Herald, has urged lawmakers to act with empathy, putting themselves in the shoes of those their policies will impact. Also in the Sunday Herald, Ian Bell reflects on public opinion on welfare recipients and the impact of the cuts on the working poor. In Scotland on Sunday, Euan McColm comments on the SNP’s use of the bedroom tax to mobilise support. (Sunday Herald page 2, Lesley Riddoch in the Scotsman)
Labour devolution proposals: A working group convened by Scottish Labour leader Johan Lamont has advocated for the transfer of tax powers to the Scottish Parliament. The Commission is expected to explore the appropriate balance of powers in regards to taxation, welfare, and local government. (Sunday Herald page 8, Scotland on Sunday page 1, The Times page 8)
Class in Britain: Writing in the Sunday Herald, Vicky Allan responds to the results of the BBC’s Great British Class Survey, commenting that the success of the survey reflects a persistent obsession with class while failing to reflect the realities of the current economic situation.
Independence poll: A TNS BMRB poll found that support for independence fell to 30% with support for the union dropping to 51%. The number of undecided voters increased from 15% to 19%. (The Herald page 1)
Pensions crunch: A report published by the House of Lords warns that an independent Scotland could be faced with a massive pension bill as well as face a loss of jobs, particularly in shipbuilding. Andrew McKie in the Herald weighs in on the debate, noting that the real challenge to the welfare state is pensioners are living longer and may require less assistance. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, The Herald page 6, The Times, page 6, Scottish Daily Mail page 8)
Wrongful arrest payments: MSPs have demanded transparency about the cost of payments to citizens who were wrongly arrested, urging the new single police force to publish these numbers. A FOI request by the Herald found that £70,000 was paid out to 34 successful claimants, however, it also found that the vast majority of claims are unsuccessful. (Sunday Herald page 20)
CCTV coverage: The number of CCTV cameras in Scotland has trebled between 2003 and 2013, amounting to more than 4,000 cameras throughout Scotland. This has led to concerns about the cost as well as the trade off between crime prevention and privacy. (The Scotsman page 1)
Stroke tests: Doctors in Glasgow are trialling a new test which would allow doctors to identify the length of time between a stroke occurring and arrival at the hospital. This will allow them to safely apply clot-busting treatments which become dangerous after a certain point. (The Herald page 9)
NHS fees for international patients: A report has revealed that NHS Scotland is owed £1.1 million by patients from abroad, with many debts stretching back month and years. While many of the fees have come from patients requiring emergency treatment while in Scotland, concerns have been raised about health tourism and calls have emerged for pre-payment for elective treatments as well as cooperation with the border agency to refuse re-entry until payments are made. (The Scotsman page 6)