Labour leader Johann Lamont could lose her seat, poll analysis shows
Scottish News: News in Scotland - Monday
Labour leader could lose seat, poll shows
Johann Lamont, leader of the Labour party in scotland would lose her seat according to a poll released over the weekend. The Panelbase poll which showed support for independence growing across Scotland but also showed a swing that would mean the loss of the Labour leader's seat. The SNP have described the findings as a crisis for Ms Lamont's leadership and a "stark rejection of Labour's negativity in Scotland".
SNP warning of more Westminster austerity as amputee declared “fit to work”
The SNP has warned of huge cuts in benefits to Scotland of £4.5bn as the UK economy continues to decline rapidly. The news comes as it emerges that an amputee in Bolton, Mark Evans, who is unable to walk, can only partially talk and has brain damage was passed "fit to work" and had his benefits cut by the UK government. Westminster benefit cuts in Scotland have doubled to £4.5bn or £1,000 for every under 16-year-old, assessed SNP ministers, warning that the London cuts will bring in the “last days of the Union”.
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Britain dependent on Scottish gas as emergency supplies arrive from Qatar
With the UK requiring 40 percent above its usual gas capacity at this time of year, depleting supplies will be supplemented by the arrival of a giant tanker from Qatar. One vessel has docked in Wales and another in Kent to provide sufficient supply to meet just 12 hours of demand. The UK's reserves have reached the dangerously low level of just 10 percent capacity - equivalent to just 36 hours supply. Energy Minister John Hayes has ordered an increase in flow from the North Sea underlining England's dependency on Scotland's energy resources.
YouGov poll shows majority want Scottish government representation in Europe
A new opinion poll shows that a majority of people want to see Scotland represented in the EU by the Scottish government rather than Westminster - providing another significant boost to the Yes campaign. The YouGov poll found that when asked which government would be best at representing Scotland and Scottish interests in the EU, 50 percent of people in Scotland put their trust in the Scottish government, as opposed to 39 percent for Westminster. Welcoming the poll, SNP MSP Clare Adamson said: "Successive Westminster governments have bargained Scotland's interests away in EU negotiations - even describing the Scottish fishing industry as 'expendable'. People in Scotland want a direct Scottish voice in Europe - and only a Yes vote in the referendum can achieve this”.
Scotland’s councils hit back at “ill thought out” ‘bedroom tax’
Councils have urged the public not to blame them for carrying out what they have dubbed "extreme and ill thought-out" welfare reforms - saying they will try to protect the most vulnerable once the "bedroom tax" changes to housing benefit come into force on 1 April. David O'Neill, of council governing body Cosla said: "make no mistake here - no blame whatsoever can be put at the door of Scotland's councils for either introducing these measures or for the devastating impact that this legislation is about to have on our communities”. Meanwhile, the Scottish government has said that, as a result of UK reforms, people in Scotland will be hit with a cut of £4.5bn - £2bn more than the UK government had originally claimed.
Scottish independence: Fitch could also downgrade UK credit rating
The Better Together economic case for Scotland remaining within the Union took another blow after Fitch warned of a downgrade to the UK’s credit rating following Moody's which has already downgraded the UK's coveted AAA credit rating. Fitch has put Britain's economy on "rating watch negative", warning of a "heightened probability of a downgrade in the near term”. Fitch is due to complete its full review by the end of April, taking a final decision over the downgrade. Fitch's warning is another blow to the UK government, which has received more tax revenue per head from Scotland in the past 30 years than the UK as a whole. Instead - according to the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, public debt in the UK is set to grow at least until 2016-17 to 85.6 percent of Britain's annual GDP and heading for the dangerous £1.5tn mark. The resilience of the UK economy has been a cornerstone of the Better Together case against independence.
Scottish independence: childcare a top priority, says Salmond
First Minister Alex Salmond has promised to make childcare a top priority in an independent Scotland, he told delegates at his SNP party conference at the weekend. He told SNP members that "ambitions for childcare" were fundamental to the party's social and economic policy programme and one of the top priorities of an independent Scotland.
Scottish independence: Tories to back more powers for Holyrood
Ruth Davidson is to signal that the Scottish Conservatives are ready to back more powers for Holyrood in the event of a “no” vote. In a major speech, she will say the referendum campaign must be a “movement for progress and positive change”. Davidson will raise the prospect of Tory support for more powers - despite running for leadership on the basis that constitutional change should be minimal. Speaking on Tuesday, Davidson will say the Better Together campaign must win or “lose forever”.
UK immigration crackdown: social housing and benefit cuts
David Cameron promises to ban all EU nationals from claiming most benefits after six months in the UK unless they can prove they have been continuously looking for work over that period – and migrants will be blocked from Britain’s social housing waiting lists until they have been in the country for up to five years. Both the latest moves in a series of increasingly tough measures against immigrants. No 10 reported that non-UK residents in social housing had risen from 6.5 percent in 2007 to more than 9 percent in 2011. But different research published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in 2009 found that new migrants in the UK over the previous five years made up less than 2 percent of those in social housing.
Repercussions of Cyprus deal as yet unknown
The eyes of the world fall on Cyprus today as details of the bailout of the tiny nation's banks emerge. Markets were calmed as word of a bailout deal emerged however it is likely that large Russian depositors will face the loss of billions of euros - a factor which may lead to the deterioration in relations between Russia and the EU. There is also the possibility that if the loss of faith in Cyprus's banking system across the tiny nation could spread to Spain, Italy and Portugal sparking bank runs.
Syrian opposition leader resigns
The president of the Syrian National Coalition Moaz Khatib has announced his resignation from office just four months after being elected. Syrian journalist and political commentator Alaa Ibrahim believes a major reason is the uncontrollable bloodshed in the country and that many opposition factions seem to be acting independently. This comes amid reports of a key rebel military commander wounded by a bomb blast in Deir al-Zour province. Activists said a device exploded next to a car in which Col Riad al-Asaad, long head of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), was travelling to Mayadeen. The former Syrian Air Force commander, who defected in July 2011, has remained a prominent figure in the armed uprising, regularly appearing with rebel fighters on the ground in Syria.
Lebanon PM resigns
Sectarian clashes have followed the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati. The news sparked clashes in his home town Tripoli which is divided between Alawites - who support the Syrian President Assad in the neighbour's struggle against Western-backed rebels - and Sunni Muslims who wish to see Assad ousted. The Lebanese government has attempted to remain officially neutral in an attempt not to get dragged into the conflict.
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