Prime Minister David Cameron has been accused of being "feart" of facing
Alex Salmond on a live tv debate on indepedence
Scottish News: News in Scotland - Friday
Scottish independence: Holyrood and Westminster must publish defence plans
Both sides of the independence debate have been urged to outline defence plans in the case of Scots voting ‘yes’ next year. The Commons defence select committee said that the Scottish government has not provided adequate information about defence in an independent Scotland. Similarly, it said that the UK government has not clearly specified how the rUK will be forced to change its own defence policy. The Scottish government have pledged that nuclear weapons will be illegal in an independent Scotland. David Cameron wants a full replacement for the out-dated Trident system on the Clyde while the LibDems have opted for a scaled-back replacement, ending constant deployment of nuclear submarines. While the UK government warned that the cost of removing Trident from an independent Scotland would be in the billions, the Sunday Herald revealed that Westminster had previously said it would only cost £150m. Holyrood's Veterans Minister Keith Brown insisted that an annual defence budget of £2.5bn would be £500m more than what the UK government have been recently spending in Scotland and would reduce the tax-payer bill by almost £1bn.
Independence ‘will have no effect on your state pension’ claim being investigated
The Department for Work and Pensions has said that the UK state pension will continue to be paid to Scottish residents post-independence. In a letter sent to one of Alex Salmond’s constituents dated 4th January, 2013, a pension service customer advisor revealed: "If Scotland does become independent, this will have no effect on your state pension - you will continue to receive it just as you do at present." However the DWP are now investigating the possibility that it provided misleading information. In addition, the department said that pensions would be the responsibility of the first independent Scottish government and raised fears by adding: "There can be no guarantee that it will be at the same level as it is now."
More Scottish news:
- UK crisis: Corruption levels soaring since 2008 financial crash
- Scottish independence: Man's limitations and Scotland's money
- 'No' vote to independence risks population exodus
- Bank of England should be abolished
Labour reveal Bedroom Tax opposition bill
Labour backbenchers have lodged a bill that would protect UK residents from falling into arrears due to the Westminster government’s controversial Bedroom Tax. The party has also urged the SNP to support the bill, which has been backed by the Poverty Alliance, the Govan Law Centre, the Church of Scotland and the STUC. However, all SNP-run councils vowed not to evict any residents that have been put into arrears by the tax after its inception – which Labour did not back - and pledged to reverse if they had the powers which would come with independence. Currently, around 82,500 Scots will be affected by the Bedroom Tax. The SNP government included £20mn in this year’s budget to assist those affected by the tax. The first minister said that this was the current limit of Scotland’s devolved powers, while Labour argued that £50mn was required to fully safeguard residents against the Westminster-imposed tax.
Warning on independence immigration policy
Undergoing a liberal immigration policy in an independent Scotland could be prevented by “negative populist media and negative party political mobilisation” a professor of politics at Edinburgh University has warned. Despite both the SNP and Labour arguing for the freedom to allow skilled workforce to fill the Labour shortage in Scotland, Prof Christina Boswell told the Royal Society of Edinburgh that they would still be limited under independence. Scotland has a “more generous approach” to immigrants compared to the UK, but “would caution against relying on this to be sustained in the event of independence and a move to liberalise immigration policy,” Ms Boswell said. She added: “To be frank, no European government since the early 1970s, with the possible exception of Spain, has been able to sustain a more liberal approach to immigration. Both the UK and Germany in their different ways attempted to liberalise policy in 2000s but sooner or later were thwarted by negative populist media and negative party political mobilisation.”
Non-religious Scots now biggest denomination
37% of people in Scotland do not adhere to a religion, the 2011 census revealed. This compared to 32% who followed the Church of Scotland and 16% who identify with the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland.
Cameron “feart” of independence debate with Salmond
The UK Prime Minister David Cameron wrote to the Scottish First Minster Alex Salmond to refuse his invitation to a televised debate regarding the 2014 independence referendum. Mr Cameron agreed that there should be debates prior to the referendum, but would not take part himself. He also said that Mr Salmond should not be able to decide who represents the ‘no’ debate and called for him to take up the debate with former UK chancellor Alastair Darling, who leads the campaign against independence in Scotland. However, as Blair Jenkins is CEO of ‘Yes Scotland’ and not the first minister, the former BBC and STV head of news is the equivalent position of Mr Darling - who is the CEO of ‘Better Together’. Similarly, Mr Cameron leads the Union, while Mr Salmond leads the Scottish government which advocates independence from the UK. Mr Salmond commented that David Cameron was "feart" of facing him in a tv debate.
UN climate panel: humans ‘dominant cause’ of global warming
Scientists in the UN’s climate change panel have compiled detailed physical evidence in a report that concludes that humans have been the "dominant cause" of global warming since the 1950s. Such a continuation of greenhouse gas emissions will accelerate warming and alter the very climate system unless "substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions" are conducted. The Scottish government have vowed to generate all of Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020, however the nation is currently behind target. Audit Scotland said that the plan has been limited by UK energy policy changes, EU regulations and the economic crises.
US and Russia reach Syria resolution compromise
The US and Russia have compromised on aims to remove chemical weapons from Syria under a UN Security Council resolution. The two countries, which have had the loudest voices in proposing action to deal with the Syrian conflict have had numerous disagreements in recent weeks as the US has typically backed the rebels while Russia has been allied with President Assad’s government. The UN Security Council may vote on a draft resolution to remove chemical weapons from Syria as early as Friday, Al Jazeera repoted. US, Russian, French and British diplomats said the vote would occur provided plans to destroy the chemical weapons are first lodged by the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague.
Ex-RBS trader sues for unfair dismissal
Simon Green, the former Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc trader who was fired for alleged Libor rigging has sued the banking group for unfair dismissal. Mr Green traded derivatives fixed to the interest rates of both dollars and euros but was fired only weeks after RBS was forced to pay $612mn to regulators for attempting to manipulate Libor rates. Both Sarah Small, an RBS spokeswoman and Green’s lawyer, Layla Bunni declined to comment. However, Jo Keddie - an employment lawyer who isn’t involved in the case - said that the former trader may argue that he was singled out, or the bank knew what he was doing but did not act until regulators began an investigation, Bloomberg reported. This is likely to fuel speculation that Mr Green is being used as scapegoat by RBS to avoid facing the consequences of Libor rigging as an institution.
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