Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 19 March 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.
Budget: Yesterday George Osborne delivered his last budget before the general election. Key features included: a rise in the personal allowance to £11,000 by 2017/18; an increase in the higher tax rate threshold to £43,300 by 2017/18; the first £1,000 of savings income to be tax-free for basic-rate taxpayers; petroleum revenue tax cut from 50% to 30% and a cut in the supplementary charge from 30% to 20%; and a 2% cut in the duty on Scotch whisky. (Scotsman page 1, John McLaren in the Scotsman, Bob Ruddiman in the Scotsman, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Susie Walker in the Scotsman, David Watt in the Scotsman, Scott Reid in the Scotsman, The Times page 1, Peter Jones in The Times, Michael Savage in the Times, The Financial Times page 1, Martin Wolf in the FT, Janan Ganesh in the FT, Stephanie Flanders in the FT, The Herald page 1, Iain Macwhirther in the Herald, The Daily Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Daily Telegraph, Allister Health in the Daily Telegraph, The Daily record page 6, Torcuil Crichton in the Daily Record, The National page 2, The Sun page 8, The Daily Express page 1, David Shand in the Daily Express, The Guardian page 1, The Scottish Daily Mail page 1, Max Hastings in the Scottish Daily Mail, The Courier page 14, The Press and Journal page 1)
Anglo-Scottish relations: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman comments that tensions between the UK parties and the SNP could harm Anglo-Scottish relations.
UK immigration: Recent increases in net migration led the Office for Budget Responsibility to revise its assumptions after only four months, now assuming that net migration will run at 165,000 per year until 2019. (The Times page 14)
Ukip MEP: The Ukip MEP David Coburn caused outrage with comments he made about the minister for Europe and External Affairs, Humza Yousaf, mentioning the convicted terrorist Abu Hamza when he referred to him. He has been urged to “seriously consider his position” unanimously at Holyrood (The Times page 19, The Herald page 8, The Scottish Daily Mail page 36, Jennifer Dempsie in the Courier, The Press and Journal page 13)
Scotland’s economy and policies: Magnus Linklater comments in the Times on Scotland “feeling like a foreign country” today.
Fruit and Vegetable patches: Labour forced through changes to legislation at Holyrood yesterday to protect the normal size of allotments. However, ministers refused to back down over plans that could reduce the size of fruit and vegetable patches, as the government indicated they could overturn yesterday’s decision by Holyrood’s local government committee. (The Herald page 8, The Daily Telegraph page 16)
Free Nursery: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has written to campaigners accepting their “merit” in their suggestion for improving delivery and recording information about how many families are missing out. (The Herald page 8)
Jargon: Jargon-filled reports from officials can have a detrimental impact on the ability of councillors to effectively scrutinize local government, a report has found. (The Herald page 8, The Courier page 13, The Press and Journal page 13)
Online campaign: Nationalist extremists reportedly launched an online campaign against a 20-year-old politics student, who lifted the lid on the controversial behaviour of SNP councillors. (The Daily Record page 2)
Football: A bill giving football fans the right to buy their football clubs has passed at the Local Government and Community Committee. (The National page 6)
ISIS: Scottish aid-worker David Haines, who was beheaded by Islamic State fanatics, condemned the UK Government before his death for not paying a ransom to free him. (The Scottish Daily Mail page 22)
David Cameron: Prime Minister David Cameron has criticized the SNP, after councillors who burned the Smith Agreement were reinstated by the party. (The Scottish Daily Mail page 38, The Press and Journal page 12)
Unemployment: The number of people out of work in Scotland increased to 162,000 between November and January. Unemployment across Britain fell during the same period and the Scots jobless rate is now 5.9 percent, which is above the rate of 5.7 percent for the whole of the UK. (The National page 13, The Courier page 13, The Scotsman page 13)
Workers: Campaigners are calling on the Scottish Government to “tighten the noose around the neck” of Scots companies to deter them from being involved in slave labour and breaching human rights of workers abroad (The National page 10)
Hospital cleanliness: The annual report from the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate has commented that healthcare in some of Scotland’s hospitals continues to “fall short” of what patients have a right to expect. (Scotsman page 11, The Times page 5, The Herald page 11)
NHS Staff: Hospital car parking staff are to start wearing CCTV cameras on their uniforms after being subjected to physical and verbal abuses. (The Times page 31, The Herald page 6)
Traffic Light: A new traffic light that turns red when a speeding motorist approaches is to be tested for the first time in Scotland (The Times page 31)