Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 13 February 2015
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.
Lord Fink: Ed Miliband has challenged the Prime Minister to say whether he agreed with Lord Fink that “everyone does tax avoidance”. Mr Miliband insisted he was not talking about Lord Fink when he referred to “dodgy donors” to the Conservative Party. One of his advisers has also reportedly called his war on tax avoidance another “Milly Dowler moment”. (The Scotsman page 6, Daily Telegraph page 4, The Times page 1, Scottish Daily Express page 7, Daily Record page 6, The Sun page 2 The Guardian page 5, Scottish Daily Mail page 8, The Courier page 16).
Peter Dominiczak in the Daily Telegraph suggests that Ed Miliband’s actions have been an attempt to politicise the HSBC scandal and point scoring has led to a “Labour own goal”.
SNP: Polling company Populus have suggested that the SNP are on track to win 48 seats at the next election. This would give the SNP a 42% chance of joining the next government in Westminster but Nicola Sturgeon has been accused by Scottish Conservatives of sidelining her own cabinet. (Financial Times page 2, Press and Journalpage 13)
Joyce McMillan in The Scotsman suggests there is a danger in the SNP becoming too closely involved in Westminster politics: voters may express intentions to polling companies for an SNP vote while eventually returning to traditional parties at the election.
Kenny Farquharson in The Scotsman claims that the SNP are reverting to “binary politics” and has given up on their successful campaign of gently persuading voters.
Labour donor: The SNP tried to undermine Scottish Labour last night by linking their new donor to Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives. The Tories have accused Labour of double standards as Sir David Garrard has spent a number of years living as a tax exile in Switzerland. (The Times page 8, The National page 6, Scottish Daily Express page 7, The Sun page 2)
Council budgets: John Swinney has warned that councils will have to “live within the constrained resources” of the public sector as more than half of Scotland’s councils have set their spending plans for the year ahead. Teacher numbers have been maintained at their present levels but Mr Swinney attacked councils, universities and quangos for paying out millions of pounds in bonuses. Council tax payments will be frozen across Scotland’s 32 local authorities despite pressure from union leaders to end the eight-year freeze. Business leaders have warned of a potential £222 million shortfall in business rates revenue. (The Scotsman page 4, The Herald page 7, The Times page 2, The National page 2, Scottish Daily Express page 7, Scottish Daily Mail page 19, Press and Journal page 12)
Gerry Braiden in The Herald says that efficiency savings have delivered all they can in Scottish councils, the next step in money saving is serious cuts.
Lib Dems: The Scottish Liberal Democrats have launched their manifesto pledging “opportunity for everyone”. (The Scotsman page 8)
Food banks: Research by the Poverty Alliance identified 167 different organisations providing emergency food to struggling Scots, stating that the rise in food banks is cause for “acute concern”. (The Herald page 5, The National page 4)
New party: Scotland will get a new left-wing party hoping to draw members to its ranks from among those dissatisfied with the Labour Party. The new party has been instigated by the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). (The National page 7)
Whisky: Alan Reid MP has called for a 2% drop from the current rate of 80% duty on Scotch Whisky which the Scotch Whisky Association claim is having a massive impact on the industry. (The National page 6)
Restaurant standards: Edinburgh restaurants and takeaways have been rated among the worst in the UK for levels of food hygiene. (The Scotsman page 13, The Guardianpage 15, Scottish Daily Mail page 5, Press and Journal page 21)
Drink-driving: Strict new drink-drive limits have contributed to a 60% fall in alcohol sales in bars. Scotland’s licensed trade has called for the Government to help prevent mass pub closures. (The Herald page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 21)
Assisted suicide: A letter of support for the Assisted Suicide Bill has been signed by Scots celebrities stating that “the Bill contains sufficient safeguards to protect vulnerable people”. (The Herald page 3, The Courier page 16)
Jim Murphy: Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has claimed that warning signs in the country’s A&E departments have been “visible for months” calling for a probe into obscene bonuses for health chiefs. Ministers have been urged to apologise. (The Herald page 6, Daily Telegraph page 12, Daily Record page 6, Scottish Daily Mail page 12, Press and Journal page 12, The Courier page 17)
Charles Kennedy in the Press and Journal says it is time to invest in the NHS, stating the signs have been clear for some time.
Police: Dozens of Scottish police officers have been suspended or put on restricted duties following allegations of crimes including rape, stalking and sexual assault. (The Scotsmanpage 8, The Herald page 4, The National page 9)