Documents claimed to show that an independent Scotland would need
to increase taxation in order to set up an oil fund as proposed by the
Scottish News: News in Scotland - Thursday
Scottish Independence: Oil fund – raise taxes or cut services Scottish government told by advisors.
Taxes would have to be raised or services cut in order to set up an oil fund in an independent Scotland, the Scottish government’s economic advisers have said. An internal briefing paper released today under Freedom of Information also considers further borrowing and has led to the pro-Union camp accusing the SNP of public deception. The government’s fiscal commission working group last week said that not one, but two oil funds could be set up after independence. However, today’s paper - signed off in March – warned that Scotland has only had a budget surplus once in the past 20 years.
SSE Energy Prices Rise
Customers of the gas and energy firm SSE face an 8.2 percent inflation-busting rise in energy prices just before winter. The energy firm confirmed that the rise would occur from 15November and said it was due to increased costs of buying wholesale energy, as well as the actual delivery and government levies. Of those not on fixed-price tariffs, 4.4 million electricity customers and 2.9 million gas customers will be affected. This is around the same period as last year that the “big six” energy companies announced price increases. The rises in prices were again announced in late autumn and were between 6 and 10.8 percent.
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
Prestwick Airport could be nationalised for free
New Zealand firm Infratil put the airport up for sale last March after notable losses and the Scottish government announced this week that it would be negotiating to purchase it. However, the company wrote in a statement on its website that it doubted that any transaction would "give rise to material proceeds". Nicola Sturgeon yesterday insisted that the South Ayrshire airport could be turned around to make a profit if the process was conducted in the right way.
Lib Dem Exodus – Menzies Campbell to quit at next election
Former Liberal Democrat leader Menzies ‘Ming’ Campbell has announced that he will step down at the next UK election in May 2015. The MP for North East Fife said that he was retiring due to his age; Mr Campbell will be 80 when the next parliament ends. It is thought that he will be offered a place in the House of Lords, according to the BBC. Prominent Scottish Lib Dem MPs risk not being re-elected - a prospect not helped after the sacking of Scottish Secretary Michael Moore as Scottish Secretary this week. One Lord Ashcroft poll in March predicted that Lib Dems would be wiped out in Scotland, with the Mr Moore as well as Charles Kennedy and Danny Alexander all at risk of losing their seats.
Energy Minister attacks treatment of women in oil and gas sector
Fergus Ewing, SNP MSP for Inverness and Nairn criticised the hiring of models dressed in suggestible outfits at the Offshore Europe event in Aberdeen. Mr Ewing said that women could be put off from entering the industry by the objectification of females at the event. Currently, less than 4% of offshore workers are women. At a debate on “women in industry” with Princess Anne during last months event, Mr Ewing said: “It is surely demeaning to all that we continue to see companies hiring young women to dress up in this way – and something which can only deter young females from wanting to play a part in the industry. He added: “I hope that the industry representative bodies will seek to use their influence to bring these practices to an end. Indeed I shall be inviting them so to do.”
Rural Highland exodus due to poor internet connectivity
Rural Scotland has observed masses “digital refugees” - Highland residents leaving remote areas due to poor internet speeds, the rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead has said. Around a fifth of homes in the Highlands and Islands currently experience insufficient broadband speeds, neglecting them from the connected world. John Swinney had promised to ensure 95 percent of Scots homes have speedy broadband by 2018, however, Mr Lochhead said this target could fall short without sufficient funding.
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(International news on currency union to inform the Scottish referendum debate)
Austerity causing social and economic destruction in Europe
Europe’s people are severely suffering and sinking deeper into economic disaster, according to the Red Cross. Record unemployment, suicide rates, extreme inequality and overall despair is widespread following unrelenting austerity policies deployed to tackle the crisis sparked by the financial sector meltdown in 2007. The 68-page report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies stated: "Whilst other continents successfully reduce poverty, Europe adds to it," […]"The long-term consequences of this crisis have yet to surface. The problems caused will be felt for decades even if the economy turns for the better in the near future … We wonder if we as a continent really understand what has hit us." The report outlined in the Guardian raises important questions about the viability of the single euro currency and the tens of millions of Europeans currently suffering extreme austerity measures.
HM Treasury scupper Scots police retirement deal
A deal between the Scottish government and police, which would have allowed officers to retire after 30 years service, has been scuppered by the treasury, the Scotsman discovered. Previously the agreement would have involved the government committing to an amount in the “low seven figures” to contribute to the police pension pot annually. Officers would then make larger contributions in order to retire after 30 years. However, HM Treasury said that it would have to ensure a comparative sum in the Westminster department to cover the potential of last resort lending. This doubled the costs to the Scottish government and prevented the deal from continuing.
Libyan PM freed after capture
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has been freed several hours after being captured by former rebels, according to a foreign ministry spokesman. The seizure was in retaliation for the capture of a Libyan al-Qaeda suspect in Tripoli. Ali Zeidan tweeted after his release: "I am fine, thank God. "If the aim of the kidnapping operation was for me to present my resignation, then I won't resign … We are taking small steps, but in the right direction." Speaking to Al Jazeera from London, Middle East analyst Abdel Bari Atwan said the incident demonstrated that "Libya is a failed state". "The rebels have the upper hand and the army cannot intervene. It is chaos. This is a huge embarrassment for the government," he said. Meanwhile the rebel group, hired by the government to provide security in Tripoli said Zeidan was “arrested” after US Secretary of State John Kerry said Libya played a role in the capture of city of Abu Anas al-Liby at the weekend.
US to reduce Egypt aid budget
The US is reducing its $1.5bn annual military aid to Egypt by an undisclosed amount following the removal of President Morsi and the crackdown of his supporters by the military-backed government. America contends that it will continue with the aid cut until it believes that Egypt has set up a democratic government.
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