Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 13 November 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.
Energy bills: Energy bills will continue to rise above levels of inflation for the next 17 years in order to pay for renewing Britain’s aging infrastructure, the National Audit Office (NAO) has claimed. The NAO also accused the government of having little idea of the effect that price rises would have on households. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1, Express page 4, FT page 2, Mail page 1, P&J page 14)
Scottish defence: A report by pro-independence think tank Scottish Global Forum has claimed that an independent Scotland would be able to fund its military on a budget of £2.5billion, operating a Scottish Defence Force encompassing 4 frigates, 15 fast jets, and 9,000 regular soldiers. The think tank states that this would leave Scotland better defended at less cost in the face of a majority ‘yes’ vote in next year’s referendum. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 6, Times page 5, Telegraph page 4, Mail page 8, P&J page 12)
Academic gagging: Sports minister Shona Robinson has been accused of attempting to silence an academic after raising the issue of his appearance at a Better Together event with his university bosses. The move has drawn criticism from leading Scottish academics. (Times page 5, Telegraph page 1, Herald page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Express page 2, Record page 2, Courier page 14)
Wind turbines: Lawyers for American business tycoon Donald Trump yesterday sought to overturn the Scottish government’s approval of a £230m offshore wind project that Trump says will ruin the view from the golf-course, and proposed houses and hotels within the area. (FT page 2, Scotsman page 9, Herald page 8, Mail page 8, P&J page 1, Courier page 22)
Green levies: EDF Energy has been accused of “blackmailing” the Government after reportedly threatening to raise energy prices if consumer-funded green levies are not reduced. (Times page 47, Telegraph page 18, Sun page 22)
Aging population: The impact of the aging population has been exaggerated, and the number of dependent older people in the UK has fallen, experts writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) have claimed. (Scotsman page 15)
Falkirk inquiry: Ed Miliband has sought to put an end to the issue of the Falkirk-Unite affair, making clear there will be no reopening of Labour’s inquiry into the controversy. (Herald page 6, Courier page 16)
Bedroom tax: The SNP administration has reportedly continued to resist calls for a statutory ban on evictions for rent arrears incurred by the ‘bedroom tax’, despite the party promoting a “no evictions” policy at local authority level. (Record page 8)
House prices: Scottish house prices are continuing to fall, in sharp contrast to the soar in house prices experienced in the south of England, according to figures released by Office for National Statistics. A report by LSL Property Services and property market consultants Acadametrics contends that the market is “buzzing” however, with the average home prices rising at their fastest rate in three years. (Scotsman page 19, Express page 1, Courier page 23)
Oil industry: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman suggests that amid a drop of 38 percent in North Sea production in the last three years, both the UK and Scottish government should set aside constitutional matters and collaborate to oversee a revival in the oil industry.
National debt: Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp in the Scotsman comments on the alleged ‘unionist myth’ of the UK subsidising Scotland.
Job quality and pay: The TUC has claimed that the quality of jobs and pay rates in the UK have fallen to a 20-year low, amid record levels of unemployment and the longest dip in real wages in over a century. (Herald page 9)
Nursing salaries: A survey by Nursing Standard has suggested that nurses in the UK are being forced to turn to payday loan companies, and borrow from friends and families to make ends meet, reportedly a result of a 9% drop in nurses pay in real terms. (Scotsman page 19)
Restorative justice: Victims of crime across Scotland will be offered a face-to-face apology from offenders after plans to implement “restorative justice” in law were backed by MSPs yesterday. The approach has reportedly proved successful in tacking youth crime and is now set for a wider roll-out. (Scotsman page 1)
Edinburgh saunas: Saunas and massage parlour operators in Edinburgh are taking legal advice over Edinburgh City Council’s decision to stop licensing the city’s saunas. (Herald page 5, Guardian page 19)
A96 dual carriageway: Plans to dual the entire length of the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road and bypass the seaside town of Nairn, estimated to cost £3billion, were yesterday unveiled by the Scottish government. (Scotsman page 11)