Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 13 April 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.  In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV news and Sky News.



Full Fiscal Autonomy: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon plans to fund the reported £7.6b budgetary gap possibly by borrowing extra, part of her bid for full fiscal autonomy (FFA). Scottish Labour leader Economic professor David Bell of Stirling University warned that the Scottish Government might need to borrow from the UK if it has FFA because the interest rates from the markets would be too high. (The Scotsman, page 1; The Herald, page 7; The Daily Record, page 7; The Sun, page 11; The National, page 2; The Times, page 1; Daily Express, page 4)


Labour Party: In the party’ manifesto, Labour leader Ed Miliband will pledge increased spending for the NHS from a mansion tax and childcare commitments paid by a banking levy. The manifesto will include year-on-year budget cuts, none of which will require borrowing. It will put the economy at the heart of the party’s message (The Herald, page 1; Daily Record, page 6; The Times, page 2; The Daily Telegraph, page 2; The Guardian, page 1)


Conservative Party: Tory leader David Cameron has promised to end an inheritance tax on properties worth under £1m as they are put under pressure to say how they will pay for the £8b gap the NHS needs. This policy would allow parents to pass property onto their children after death tax free. The loss in tax revenue will be compensated by taxes on pensions for people earning over £150,000. They also have said that they will reduce welfare spending to £23,000 per household. (The Herald, page 6; The Sunday Times, page 1, The National, page 4; The Times, page 2, page 7; The Daily Telegraph, page 4)


Liberal Democrats: Lib Dems, to fill the £27b deficit, would increase taxes on motorists, remove winter fuel payments and free TV licenses from wealthy pensioners and raise taxes on homes worth over £2b, among other things. (The Times, page 7; The Daily Telegraph page 5)


Scottish National Party: Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has proposed increasing the minimum wage to £8.70 an hour, ending zero-hours contracts and supporting an additional of £9.5 billion spending to the NHS across the UK. (The National, page 4, page 6)


Green Party: Party leader Natalie Bennett proposes to raise taxes on top incomes to 60p on the pound to raise £2b a year for public services and to dissuade employers from paying excessive wages. The current top rate tax – on incomes over £150,000 per year – is 45p. (The National, page 5; The Daily Telegraph, page 5)


Coalition:  A possible coalition between Liberal Democrats and Labour would freeze out the SNP based on a survey conducted by elections expert Professor John Curtice (Daily Record, page 6)


Polls: A YouGov poll after the first UK leaders’ debate found that SNP went up three points to 49% and Labour down four points to 25%. If the numbers hold at the election, Labour would go down 37 seats to 4, making the possibility of a majority for Labour unlikely. (The Sunday Times, page 18; The Sun, page 11)


Referendum: A Panelbase survey found that 54% of voters do not want another referendum on Scottish independence before 2020. Of the more than 1,000 people that took part in the survey last month, 51% would vote no if the referendum were held tomorrow, 42% yes, 6% undecided and 1% would abstain. However, 64% believe that Scotland will become independent by 2050 while 25% did not. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has not ruled out the possibility of a further referendum, but as of now has no plans for one (The Sunday Times, page 1; Daily Record, page 6; The Sun, page 11; The Herald, page 7; The Daily Telegraph, page 4)


Lesley Riddoch discusses coalition possibilities and the future of Scotland’s unionist parties (The Scotsman, page 23).


Trident: More than 250 people will form a blockade at the Faslane Naval Base to protest at the renewal of the Trident Nuclear Weapons System. The activists are supported by celebrities and academics, including Vivienne Westwood and Noam Chomsky, who have signed a letter condemning the renewal. (The National, page 9)


Robert E Wright discusses immigration and its effect on Scotland’s workforce (The Sunday Times, page 23)



Housing prices: As the price of oil continues to decrease, Aberdeen saw average rent fall 1.2% in the past year compared with a 6.8% year-on-year rise across Scotland. However, the average cost for a two bedroom apartment is still higher in Aberdeen than other cities in Scotland coming in at £972. A report on the subject encouraged policymakers to ensure supply of affordable housing. (The Scotsman, page 11; The Herald, page 3)


Plastic bags: Since the law forcing stores to charge 5p per bag went into effect, the use of plastic bags has fallen between 80-90%. It has been in place in Scotland for 6 months and is already law in Wales and Northern Ireland. England will begin forcing larger supermarkets and stores to charge 5p per bag later this year (The Herald, page 8)



Police: To boost stop-and-search statistics, officers are being ordered to target drug addicts says a whistleblower policeman. (The Sun, page 2)



GP Visits: A report by YouGov found that one in six women diagnosed with breast cancer put off seeing their GP for at least a month after first symptoms appear. One of the reasons for delaying a visit is women not realising symptoms can be breast cancer (The Herald, page 5)


Mental Health: The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCSC) is petitioning the Scottish Government to increased spending on mental health services for children by £25M to improve waiting times, increase bed numbers, put children and young people with disabilities in appropriate wards, and engage those in the youth justice system. (The Herald, page 11)


NHS Scotland: Foreign doctors are being hired to fill the gap in NHS Scotland. NHS Scotland launched the Scottish International Medical Fellowship to attract foreign doctors needed in anaesthetics, paediatrics and A&E. (The Daily Express, page 5)