News in Scotland - Wednesday

The next governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, will control the
value of Scotland's money and its supply under Alex Salmond's plans to
keep the pound post-independence

Scottish News: News in Scotland - Wednesday


Does Salmond want independence?

Two prominent Scottish economists who are considered to be sympathetic to the nationalist cause have intervened in the referendum debate to warn that Alex Salmond's vision for Scots is not about proper independence. Economic experts Jim and Margaret Cuthbert have declared that Salmond's vision means it "not feasible that anything approaching independence can emerge from the current referendum". Their warning - in relation to SNP's policy of keeping the pound post-independence - views Scotland as being binded by fiscal ties thereby limiting an independent Scotland's taxation freedom. The SNP have responded by saying Scotland would have total control over its finances if people voted 'yes'. However, without the monetary powers to control the value of money through setting interest rates (controlled by the Bank of England and Westminster) this reasoning appears increasingly unsustainable as the referendum campaign intensifies.                                               

Independence: Westminster to impose huge cuts to Scotland’s block grant

Scotland's annual block grant is set to be cut by hundreds of millions of pounds in a knock on effect from George Osborne's attempt to find £11.5 billion of extra savings across Whitehall budgets. A senior Treasury source stated that it was, at this stage, impossible to determine the scale of the reduction on Scotland's £30bn annual block grant, but admitted: "We are making spending reductions across the board. Yes, they will have an impact on the Scottish block grant”. Such revelations will prove yet another blow for the Better Together campaign in convincing the Scottish people that remaining within the Union is the more attractive option come September 2014.

More Scottish news:

Assault at former Glasgow Labour leader’s home

A man has been found guilty of assault following an early morning brawl at the home of publicly disgraced former Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell. Ross Henderson, 37, punched James McLeod, who he claimed had pulled his trousers off while he was asleep at Mr Purcell's flat in the Merchant City area of Glasgow. Mr Purcell, who was said by officers to have been very drunk, was uncooperative with police and that he "wasn't keen" for them to be there, the court heard. The attack occurred following a party to celebrate the news that Mr Purcell, who quit his post in 2010 confessing to cocaine addiction, would not face charges over claims of cronyism and drug abuse. Mr Purcell, who did not attend yesterday's proceedings, declined to speak about the case.

£56mn North Sea oil deal boost for Wood Group

Scotland's North Sea oil boom has seen Aberdeen-based Wood Group win a contract extension to operate a large floating production vessel. The contract contains a lucrative extension option securing employment in the sector in one of the few good news stories in the UK economy. The value of the contract is a further sign of bullish demand in the industry and comes while oil and gas firms in the Scottish North Sea sector are pumping investment into the industry.


UK crisis: further welfare cuts to help fund military

The UK is proposing to slash welfare funding and diverting it to the police and armed forces in the wake of the Woolwich attacks - despite MI5 already having kept tabs on the murder suspects for years. Iain Duncan Smith, responsible for the DWP, has been in discussions with both the defence and home secretaries to heighten security measures in the UK at the expense of up to £3bn in welfare, according to a Telegraph report published on Tuesday. However, grave concern has been voiced by some who feel the move will be ineffectual. Welfare expenditure has been repeatedly slashed by the coalition government, with rises in benefit payments capped at 1 percent on an annual basis. At the beginning of April, a series of cuts began to be imposed across Britain, which critics say is already proving disastrous for low-income families and the financially vulnerable. 

UK crisis: ‘snoopers charter’ a ‘political move’

A Conservative backed plan to allow police and the security services unprecedented access to people’s internet communications would not have helped prevent the murder of Lee Rigby, M15 officers have said – calling it a “cheap argument”. The remarks directly undermine the argument by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, who suggested at the weekend that the Draft Communications Bill was “essential for the intelligence agencies” to combat the threat of terrorism. M15 stressed that any decision to proceed with the Bill, which is being blocked by the Liberal Democrats, was a political one, and effects on civil liberties would have to be taken into consideration. Meanwhile, M15 added that elements of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee report into the Woolwich suspects might be redacted for public viewing on the grounds of national security.                      

South China Sea territorial dispute intensifies

A wrecked navy transport ship perched on a remote coral reef could be the next flashpoint in the South China Sea, where China and five other claimants are disputing territory. The Philippines is accusing China of encroachment after three Chinese ships converged just 5 nautical miles from an old transport ship that Manila ran aground on a reef in 1999 to mark its territory. The area is a strategic gateway to Reed Bank, believed to be rich in oil and natural gas. But Beijing says it is part of the Spratlys, claimed entirely by China, Taiwan and Vietnam. The tension continues a decade old territorial dispute over the South China Sea which is rapidly entering a more contentious chapter as claimant nations spread deeper into disputed waters in search of energy supplies. Such moves could also see the US intervening in defence of its Southeast Asian allies.

Hague’s Syria policy sparks arms race and accusations of 'breaking international law'

Russia and the US have diverged in their positions over the lifting of the EU arms embargo to Syria this week. The embargo was lifted after pressure from the UK and France and could likely open the door for direct arming of insurgent groups. The US has praised the development, saying it gives Europe more flexibility and ramps up pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad. However, Russia has said it sees the move as not only counterproductive, however also potentially unlawful, as delivering arms to non-governmental actors against the wishes of a country’s government breaks international law under several UN treaties. Russia itself has standing military contracts with the Syrian government, which it states it intends to fulfil. Meanwhile in the US, "the White House has asked the Pentagon to draw up plans for a no-fly zone inside Syria that would be enforced by the US and other countries such as France and Great Britain” according to two administration officials.


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commented 2013-05-29 12:06:48 +0100 · Flag
At this rate, rather like Moses, Alex Salmond may lead us to the promised land but he may well not enter it himself in his current capacity. The currency issue built on an assumption of some sort of gentleman’s agreement with Westminster and the British state’s national bank is looking increasingly flakey. The chance that Cameron will be ousted before long and replaced by a more nationalistic Ukip oriented leader is a reasonable possibility. Where would that leave us? In a currency union in which we would be playing, once again, second fiddle? That the SNP ought to have more options than this is glaringly evident and this issue must be “tidied up” before the independence campaign begins in earnest. A Scottish pound or whatever, is that so unthinkable? After all the SNP economic argument is based on the premiss that Scotland would be strong. So why stick with the crotchety Old Lady?
published this page in News 2013-05-29 11:00:14 +0100