Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 8 January 2014
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.
Childcare: Alex Salmond yesterday unveiled a £114million family support package designed to provide extra childcare and free school meals. A quarter of two-year olds are reportedly set to receive 600 hours a year of nursery care, while pupils in their first three years of primary school will receive free school lunches. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 7, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Express page 2, Record page 8, Mail page 6)
Anonymity: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has pledged to examine whether or not people accused of serious crimes should maintain their anonymity, in an attempt to prevent a ‘trial by media’ before they are charged. (Herald page 1, P&J page 12)
Referendum: Two thirds of Scots are struggling to decide whether or not information regarding Scottish independence is true, according to a survey carried out by Ipsos MORI for the Law Society. Only one in seven Scots who responded said that they felt very well informed about the debate, whilst one in ten felt that they were not well informed at all. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 4, P&J page 14, Courier page 14, Mail page 4)
Minimum wage: George Osborne is facing pressure from factions of his own party to deliver an increase in the minimum wage despite business opposition, as the Conservatives attempt to win back working-class votes. (FT page 3, Telegraph page 14, Guardian page 4)
Universal credit scheme: The UK government’s programme for Universal credit is reportedly susceptible to “high-level” risk caused by friction between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office, according to minutes of a Whitehall meeting. (Guardian page 1)
Osborne’s budget: Ian Bell in the Herald comments on George Osborne’s announcement that £25billion will have to be cut from government spending after the next general election. He argues that any restraint exercised by the Chancellor is due only to electoral considerations, and that cuts are to be felt exclusively by the worst-off in society.
Party politics: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments on Nicola Sturgeon’s appeal to both Labour and Tory voters to vote for independence in the referendum, arguing that contrary to Ms Sturgeon’s claims, a majority Yes vote in the referendum would further pave the way for an SNP government in an independent Scotland.
Children in parliament: Emma Cowing in the Scotsman comments on Jo Swinson’s proposal for children to be able to be brought into the voting chamber of the House of Commons.
Profit forecasts: The majority of firms within the UK are reportedly expecting a growth in sales and profitability this year, reportedly highlighting increased confidence among businesses in the prospects for the UK economy, according to a survey by the Institute of Directors. (Herald page 23)
High street prices: High street prices are falling at their fastest rate in seven years, figures released by the British Retail Consortium have shown. Overall, they fell 0.8% percent in December; the eighth consecutive month of price drops in 2013. (Express page 26, Sun page 36)
Edinburgh Airport: Thousands of aircraft passengers were yesterday stranded at Edinburgh airport for several hours while bomb disposal experts were summoned to investigate a “potentially suspicious bag”. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 2, Times page 3, Telegraph page 1)
Corroboration: Two of Scotland’s most senior judges have voiced their support for corroboration. Lord Hamilton and Lord Cullen warned the Scottish Government against changes in the law on corroboration, predicting it would increase the risk of miscarriages of justice. (Scotsman page 12, Times page 11, Telegraph page 10)