Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 27 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.
Independence white paper: Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday laid out his plans for an independent Scotland with the publication of a white paper, described by Salmond as a “mission statement”. The document includes a multitude of policies that the SNP hope will convince voters to vote ‘Yes’ in next year’s referendum. Childcare features prominently within the document, with the pledge that by 2025, all three and four-year-old children, together with vulnerable two-year-olds, would be given the same amount of free care as given to primary school children. Also featuring within the document, which doubles as an SNP manifesto for an independent Scottish Government, are plans to impose a constitutional ban on nuclear weapons within an Independent Scotland, as well as the abolition of the so called ‘Bedroom-Tax’. Critics of the SNP and their case for independence have been quick to note the lack of costs provided in the document, and have pointed out that childcare is devolved to the Scottish Government; arguing that nothing should stop the proposal being introduced now.
(George Kerevan in the Scotsman, Matt Qvortrup in the Scotsman, Dr Angus Armstrong, Dr Monique Ebell and David Bell in the Scotsman, David Maddox in the Scotsman, Stuart Crawford in the Scotsman, Andrew Whitaker in the Scotsman, Brian Wilson in the Scotsman, Terry Murden in the Scotsman, Phillips O’Brien in the Herald, Andrew McKie in the Herald, David Torrance in the Herald, Iain Macwhirter in the Herald, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Allan Massie in the Telegraph, Magnus Linklater in the Times, Kerry Gill in the Express, Simon Jenkins in the Guardian)
Migration: Prime Minister David Cameron will today announce new plans to crack down on EU migrants entering Britain to gain access to benefits, so-called ‘benefit tourists’, by imposing a ceiling of just six months’ eligibility on most of them. (Herald page 5, FT page 1, David Cameron in the FT, Telegraph page 1, Express page 17, Guardian page 4, Mail page 2)
Green agenda: Several Conservative MPs have reportedly warned David Cameron that he risks losing voters in marginal seats to the Liberal Democrats by abandoning the green agenda. (Telegraph page 2)
Energy firms: The regulator of the Energy industry, Ofgem, has said that energy firms have “no entitlement to any level of profit” and must earn their right to make money. (Telegraph B1, Guardian page 29, Courier page 24)
State pensions: A study by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation Development has claimed that Britain’s state pension is among the worst in the developed world, with only citizens of Mexico receiving less from their government upon retirement. (Telegraph page 14)
Edinburgh trams: The Institution of Civil Engineer’s president Geoff French has said in a visit to the Scottish capital that the trams will have a “very positive effect” on Edinburgh, predicting that the ambience of Princes Street would be “enormously” improved if the introduction of trams led to fewer buses using the thoroughfare. (Scotsman page 20)
NHS Staffing: Hospitals in Scotland are facing growing staffing problems, with many struggling to fill vacancies for doctors and nurses. In a joint statement yesterday, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) highlighted 1,700 nursing posts still vacant in Scotland. (Scotsman page 16)
Alcohol consumption: Scotland’s ban on multi-buy alcohol promotions has failed to reduce the amount of drink purchased by shoppers, research by the Behaviour and Health Research Unit has shown. (Scotsman page 20, Herald page 9, Times page 2, P&J page 19)
Job opportunities: Professor Ewart Keep in the Scotsman comments that the growth in low-paid and low-skilled jobs in Scotland is dissuading individuals from investing in education.
Severance pay: It has emerged that 150 members of staff at colleges in Fife and Tayside accepted voluntary severance deals prior to the merging of their workplaces, estimated to have cost the taxpayer £4million. (Courier page 8)
Corroboration: Allan Massie in the Scotsman argues that attempts to abolish corroboration in Scotland remove a vital and effective part of the Scottish legal system, saying that the attempts to anglicise Scots law should be resisted.
Phone-hacking scandal: Rebekah Brooks reportedly told a close friend of David Cameron how to hack mobile phones at a birthday party held for the Prime Minister at Chequers, a court heard yesterday. (Telegraph page 5, Times page 21, Express page 25, Guardian page 11)