News in Scotland - Wednesday

alistair-darling.jpg
Better Together chief Alistair Darling has been criticised for making
thousands on giving dinner speeches but failing to attend votes in Westminster

Scottish News: News in Scotland - Wednesday 

SCOTLAND

Independence an opportunity to change Scottish benefit system, says think tank

Scottish independence would deliver options on reforming the benefit system to suit the needs of Scots according to a new report by leading UK think tank, the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS). However the report also warns that there will be cost implications resulting in higher taxes or cuts especially as Scotland's population is projected to age fast than the rest of the UK. The report is predicated on the assumption that there will be no shift in Scotland's economy from its current situation nor does it take into account possible changes in fertility rates or immigration. Willie Rennie, the Scottish LibDem leader said: "With a population ageing more rapidly than the rest of the UK, the more generous welfare system offered but not detailed by the SNP would have to be paid for through tax rises, cuts to public spending or a slower payment of the deficit."

Better Together chief rakes in cash for dinner speeches but misses Commons' votes

The Chairman of the anti-independence Better Together campaign, Alistair Darling, raked in £75,480 for speaking at only 6 events between March 22 and June 13 this year and made £24,480 in a single day. However, the SNP's Westminster Leader Angus Robertson pointed to the former Labour chancellor's recent record on voting in parliament saying: “Chairman of the No campaign Alistair Darling is earning thousands giving speeches while he is missing crucial votes in the House of Commons, such as opposing the Tories’ welfare cuts...Mr Darling’s boss Ed Miliband recently said it is wrong for MPs to earn ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’ from outside interests - which is a major embarrassment to the No campaign." Mr Darling was Labour chancellor when the financial crisis struck.

More Scottish news:

Bank of England helped Nazis sell stolen Czech gold

The Bank of England (BoE) helped facilitate the sale of gold looted by Nazis after the German invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938, it has emerged from the bank's own records. The UK's central bank sold gold on behalf of Germany's central bank - Reichsbank - after the Nazis seized it from its Czech central bank counterpart and after the UK government froze all Czech assets held in Britain after the invasion. Records now show that the BoE sold gold on behalf of the Nazis without the consent of the British government. The Bank of England has recently been implicated in the Libor scandal described by commentators as the biggest financial crime in history. Despite the new revelations relating to a dark history and events of 70 years ago, the BoE continues to be viewed as opaque, lacking accountability, failing as a regulator and being implicated in a global fraudulent conspiracy raises major questions over whether Scotland should use the Bank of England as a lender of last resort and regulator after independence as is the policy of the SNP.

Labour lead cut to 3 points at Westminster

The Conservatives have closed with Labour in the latest opinion poll to just 3 points for the Westminster election. The ComRes poll commissioned by the Independent shows Labour's lead has been reduced to its smallest in a ComRes poll since October last year. Labour are on 37 percent (+1) while the Tories have climbed to 34 percent (+4) and Ukip are down on 12 percent (-2) with the LibDems on 10 percent (0). Should Conservative Party fortunes continue to improve the possibility of a future Tory majority in Westminster is expected to impact on the Scottish electorate's voting intentions in next year's independence vote.

UK crisis: Royals pay use zero-hours contracts for summer staff

Buckingham Palace's 350 part-time summer workers have no guaranteed hours it has emerged. Staff working in the shop, greeting visitors and monitors are forced to sign "zero-hours" contracts which forbids them from accepting employment elsewhere according to The Guardian newspaper.

Bradley Manning verdict a 'dangerous precedent', warns Assange

US whistleblower Bradley Manning - who has been acquitted of aiding the enemy by Judge Denise Lind - faces a possible 136 years in prison after been found guilty of 19 other charges relating to espionage and theft. Mr Manning, a former military analyst, gave classified information to Wikileaks in 2010 which were then put in the public domain internationally. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange commented on the proceedings and accused President Barack Obama of "national security extremism," referring to Manning and his disclosures as "the most important journalistic source the world has ever seen...The government kept Bradley Manning in a cage, stripped him naked and isolated him in order to break him, an act formally condemned by the United Nations Special Rapporteur for torture. This was never a fair trial," Amnesty International commented: “It’s hard not to draw the conclusion that Manning's trial was about sending a message: the US government will come after you,” Mr Manning's family although disappointed at the verdict was glad that he was acquitted of aiding the enemy saying "Brad loves his country and was proud to wear its uniform."

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published this page in News 2013-07-31 13:36:51 +0100