Despite record levels of investment in Scotland's North Sea, the OBR has
revised its forecast for future revenues downwards just a year ahead of
Scotland independence referendum
Scottish News: News in Scotland - Thursday
Project Fear?: Scotland's oil wealth forecast revised downwards by £11bn
Scotland's future oil wealth until 2041 has been revised downwards by Westminster's controversial Office of Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) - a downward adjustment of 15 percent on previous forecasts. Government income from Scotland's oil and gas sector between 2017-18 and 2040-41 will now only be £56bn instead of £67bn. In December OBR head Robert Chote, who is a political appointment made by Chancellor Osborne, was accused by Westminster MPs of “charging to the aid of the Chancellor” after making adjustments to his forecasting model which allegedly favoured Mr Osborne's budgetary objectives. The new revision will be viewed suspiciously in Scotland as a mechanism to influence next year's independence referendum result. The move comes after Westminster has faced widespread criticism for its "scaremongering" tactics labelled 'Project Fear' which are said to be aimed at terrifying the Scottish electorate into voting 'no'.
Scottish independence: UK model more depressing than Norway’s
Use of antidepressants in the UK has rocket by 495 percent since 1991 according to a study by Bloomberg. At the same time, Norway, which has a similar population and similar natural resources as Scotland is the least stressed out nation on Earth.
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
Independence campaign spurs islands' debate over more powers
The councils of Orkney and Shetland and the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have written to Alex Salmond and David Cameron questions relating to furthering their control over the seabed around the islands - which would see revenues currently paid to the treasury being earmarked for local services. The island councils have used the opportunity of the Scottish independence debate to consider their own relationship to centralised power in Scotland and the UK.
Cameron to holiday in west coast of Scotland
Prime Minister David Cameron will take a breather from the campaign against Scottish independence by holidaying in Scotland this year. Mr Cameron will holiday on the west coast just a year before Scotland's referendum vote. On his last Scottish vacation he visited a 20,000-acre shooting estate which belongs to his wife's family. Mr Cameron will be back in Scotland again with the Queen where traditionally PMs and the monarch have an official visit. Historians label annual trips by the aristocracy to Scotland as 'balmorality'.
BBC not biased against Scotland
Political commentator Iain Macwhirter has said that BBC bias against Scotland is a "myth". Instead, Mr Macwhirter blames pressure exerted by Westminster MPs not to appear pro-independence and metropolitan parochialism as the main causes for an "anglocentric news schedules". The perception of bias and the exploitation of that perception in online political blogs in Scotland appear to have fomented a sense of persecution among some campaign activist groups aggravating a tribal atmosphere which alienates many ordinary Scots from the campaign debate. The ‘yes’ campaign is chaired by former BBC Scotland chief Blair Jenkins.
CURRENCY INDEPENDENCE v UNION LATEST
(International news on currency union to inform the Scottish referendum debate)
Greece: More austerity cuts passed as stricken nation faces general strike next week
The Greek parliament has passed new austerity measures which will see public-sector job cuts and other cuts which have been demanded by the 'troika' of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF in return for ongoing bailout payments. In a sign of who where the key players are the German finance minister is due in Athens while unions have called a general strike on Tuesday. The cuts saw a third day of demonstrations outside of the parliament in a nation suffering from what one German psychotherapist called "collective trauma" akin to civil war conditions. Greece agreed to be bailed out after accepting the private debts of its banks as belonging to the taxpayer. This week there were calls in the Irish parliament to reverse the bailouts. Greece is a member of the eurozone currency union.
UK crisis: Outsourcing scams cost UK taxpayer £100bn
Westminster's lack of competence has been blamed in a report which shows that private sector companies are "gaming the system" to the tune of billions of pounds. The analysis shows one of the UK government's "outsourcing" programmes which helps people get back to work sees private firms making profits on easy cases while "parking" more difficult ones. The Institute for Government think tank reported that the UK government was not competent enough to effectively manage private sector contracts. This lack of skill is leading to the taxpayer being scammed by private care companies, government contractors and others.
Hope of future treatment for Down's syndrome
Scientists have taken the first step in creating a genetic therapy to treat Down's syndrome children after a study showed it is possible to switch off an entire extra chromosome in the cells of sufferers. The study published in Nature magazine the XIST gene managed to turn off the extra chromosome in the Down's cells. The study will help in the understanding of what goes wrong when babies inherit three sets of chromosomes instead of two.
Russia: Opposition leader convicted in 'politically motivated trial'
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been jailed for five years for embezzlement preventing him from standing against Vladimir Putin in the next presidential election. The trial, which many international critics view as politically motivated and logically incoherent is being widely viewed as part of a political purge of Mr Putin's opponents. Mr Navalny had uncovered corrupt practices inside the Russian government.
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