News in Scotland - Monday

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Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney's case for a post-independent
Scotland keeping sterling is under pressure as the pound plummets

Scottish News: News in Scotland - Monday

SCOTLAND

Scottish independence: UK government "caught red handed" on defence spending "cover-up"
A Freedom of Information (FoI) request has revealed that Scotland receives £1.9bn less of government defence spending than its population share merits. Over ten years to 2012, according to SNP calculations, the underspend in Scotland amounts to £7.4bn. The FoI request also appears to contradict claims made by the MoD that a breakdown of defence spending into the nations and regions of the UK is impossible. The SNP has said the MoD "has lied about its ability to produce these figures,". SNP Westminster Leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP accused the government of a "cover-up" arguing that it has now been "caught red-handed" in manipulating information being made available to the Scottish public.

Scottish independence: SNP sterling policy under pressure as pound sinks
SNP plans for an independent Scotland to remain within a 'sterling zone' came under pressure last week as the pound continued to lose value against other currencies. On Friday the pound fell 0.2 percent against the euro hitting a ten month low. Analysts expect the pound's decline to continue this year - a decline which will factor into the debate over which currency an independent Scotland should adopt post-independence. A weaker pound means more expensive imports and therefore a drop in the general standard of living across the UK.

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Danish fashion magnate buys 20,000 acres of Scottish land
Anders Holch Povlsen has become the second-biggest private landowner in the UK after purchasing the 20,000 acre Gaick estate in Inverness-shire. Mr Povlsen, whose family owns Danish fashion company Bestseller, also owns the Glenfeshie, Ben Loyal and Kinloch estates; with the addition of the Gaick estate he owns around 150,000 acres of land in Scotland. The 43-year-old has been criticised of conducting a “land-grab” and taking advantage of farming subsidies. However, others claim Mr Povlsen is motivated by a desire to protect wild land using the example of his Glenfeshie estate, where he has overseen the regeneration of over 1000 acres of woodland.  

SNP rejects plans for more tax powers
A report suggesting that Scotland could be given control of £22bn per annum in taxes has been rejected by the SNP. The report, by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) which is closely tied to the Labour Party, claims that Scotland could collect 100 percent of income tax, a proportion of VAT, and alcohol, tobacco and air-passenger duties. Alistair Darling, leader of the Better Together campaign has said the move is “anti-devolution”. Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "The only way Scotland can achieve control of our own resources and gain the powers that we need to grow the economy, create jobs, and have a fair welfare state is to vote yes in next year's referendum."

Thousands of finance jobs to be cut
Thousands of jobs in the financial sector are expected to be axed in the first few months of 2013 amid the UK’s economic depression. The financial sector is already struggling from a lack of qualified staff which firms complain is limiting the business they can do. Kevin Burrowes, UK financial services leader at accountant PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: "What we are seeing is businesses exiting certain product lines or certain geographies." Meanwhile, many employees are leaving the sector and less are joining, concerned over its poor reputation. Mr Burrowes added: “We cannot underestimate the impact that is having on the workplace. Good compliance officers are like gold dust."

Heavy snows hit Scotland
Drifting snow has caused road disruptions in the Borders and north east of Scotland with airports warning of cancellations and more than 20 schools shut. The Met Office has again warned the public to “be prepared” as gale force winds and heavy snow are expected in eastern, central and southern areas. Those driving between Scotland and England have been told to use the A1 or M74 as the A68 has been closed due to snow in Cumbria.

INTERNATIONAL

PM to deliver EU speech this week
David Cameron’s long-awaited speech over Britain’s EU status is set to be delivered by the end of the week. The speech will include the PM’s plans for Britain’s place in Europe which was originally planned for August, but had been postponed to “before Christmas”. More delays meant the speech was due last Friday, however Cameron put it on hold to respond to the Algerian hostage crisis. The speech will be closely-watched by other European leaders. The time and date of the speech is to be announced today.

Chavez is ‘gaining strength’, says Venezuelan VP
Hugo Chavez is ‘gaining strength’ and entering a new phase of cancer treatment, says Vice President Nicolas Maduro. Amid mounting doubts over the President’s health, Maduro released a statement on Sunday announcing that his “vital signs and organ function are stabilising, he is conscious and gaining strength for the next stage". The statement has done little to satiate opposition members who claim Chavez is more ill than revealed. Opponents are demanding Chavez speak to state media if he is able, however he has not been seen publicly since December 10.

Israel evacuates Palestinian protest camp
The Israeli army has removed a new Palestinian camp comprised of four tents and a building under construction claiming it was on land owned by Israel. Military sources said: “20 Palestinians at the site were evicted without incident.” The army issued "invasion removal orders” on Sunday to the encampment, situated near a village in the occupied West Bank. The camp, named Bab al-Karama, Arabic for Gate of Dignity, was set up by activists on Friday to protest against Israel’s plans to confiscate 124 acres near the village. The Israeli army claimed that the building and three tents were on Israeli land and one tent was in the path of a planned separation barrier.

Japan talks of warning shots for Chinese airplanes
Japan has warned that it may fire warning shots and take other measures to keep foreign aircrafts from violating its airspace, heating up the dispute with China over ownership of the Diaoyu islands. The comments were made after Chinese fighters tailed Japanese warplanes near the islands recently. Chinese media has reported that the J-10 fighters were scrambled after Japanese F-15s commenced tailing a Chinese surveillance plane near the islands. China have stated that their fighters did not violate Japanese airspace and the F-15s were harassing them. This latest situation has sparked worries that the dispute may spiral out of control.

China: anger at Clinton’s comments over islands
Hillary Clinton’s backing of the Japanese administration over the Diaoyu island dispute has sparked a rebuke from China. US Secretary of State Clinton publicly repeated the long-standing US position that Washington acknowledged the disputed islands belong to Japan. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said: “The relevant comments by the U.S. side neglects the facts and confuses right with wrong. China is extremely dissatisfied and resolutely opposed to this. We urge the U.S. side to take a responsible attitude towards dealing with the Diaoyu Islands, be cautious in what they say and do and take concrete steps to maintain regional stability and overall picture of Sino-U.S. ties to gain the trust of the Chinese people."

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published this page in News 2013-01-21 12:51:13 +0000