Thursday, 31 December 2009

SNP TAKING NOTHING FOR GRANTED AS PARTY ENDS YEAR ON ELECTORAL HIGH



SNP TAKING NOTHING FOR GRANTED AS PARTY ENDS YEAR ON ELECTORAL HIGH

PARTY SECURES MOST VOTES ACROSS SCOTLAND THROUGHOUT 2009

10% SWING FROM LABOUR ON 4-PARTY SPLIT

Analysis of all elections held throughout 2009 – totalling nearly 1 million votes from the European Parliament and Westminster and local by-elections - has shown that the SNP secured the most votes of any party in Scotland and enjoyed a 10% swing from Labour on a 4-way party split.

The cumulative votes for all 4 main parties in all election throughout the length and breadth of Scotland was as follows.

Party: Votes - % (% Change from 2007)

SNP: 323,394 - 36% (+12%)

Labour: 245,047 - 27% (-8%)

Tory: 203,443 - 22% (-2%)

LibDem: 134,188 - 15% (-2%)

This equals a 10% swing from Labour to the SNP on the basis of the previous elections and sets the SNP up well for the approaching Westminster elections.

Commenting SNP Business Convener and Parliament Minister Bruce Crawford said:

"We are taking nothing for granted in 2010 with a UK general election definitely on the cards.

"We are ready and prepared for that challenge and these statistics are an encouraging springboard for that campaign.

"The coming Westminster election will be a clear two-way contest between the SNP and Labour and these figures show we can win that contest.

"With the phoney war between Labour and Tory showing both London parties determined to cut Scottish public spending and threaten the creation of new jobs it is clear the real fight is for Scotland where only a vote for the SNP can put Scotland’s priorities first."

TREASURY TARNISH TO WHISKY’S GLEAMING FESTIVE SALES



TREASURY TARNISH TO WHISKY’S GLEAMING FESTIVE SALES

NEW YEAR RESOLUTION DEMAND OVER WHISKY SOUR

As first footers and revellers toast the New Year, the MP for Scotland’s premier Whisky producing constituency, Angus Robertson, has called on the UK Government to make the introduction of a fair tax regime for the premier product a New Year resolution.

Mr Robertson, whose Moray constituency contains more than half of all malt whisky distilleries, slammed the UK Government for continuing to cream an unfair tax off the whisky industry. The run up to Christmas is the most important period for domestic whisky sales. More than 40% of malt and 30% of blended whisky sales take place on the run up to the festive season.

At the Pre-Budget report earlier this month, the Chancellor, who takes 70% of the price of the average bottle of whisky in tax, ignored repeated calls to decrease whisky tax. At the Budget earlier this year the Labour Government increased the rate of duty on whisky by the highest amount since 1975. The 59p per bottle increase was condemned by industry and business organisations.

Mr Robertson, the Westminster leader of the SNP, said:

“The whisky sector is one of Scotland's key industries both in export, earnings and employment terms, and the current tax regime is undermining investment and competitiveness as well as damaging international trading conditions.


“Labour’s unfair tax is a ball and chain round the neck of every bottle of whisky distilled in Scotland. This tax works against the industry and against the Scottish economy. During an essential season for one of Scotland’s essential industries, this duty is a real burden.

“At the Budget earlier this year Downing Street increased the rate of duty on whisky by the highest amount since 1975 – we cannot have any repeat of that again in the New Year. Minimum Pricing will not harm Scotland’s Whisky industry but Labour’s dodgy tax regime already is.

“So as the Chancellor enjoys a festive nip; he should make a toast to the future of the whisky industry and cut Labour’s unfair whisky tax. That would be a New Year resolution worth keeping.”

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

MP CALLS ON UK TO MEET AID OBLIGATIONS IN SEASON OF GOOD WILL



MP CALLS ON UK TO MEET AID OBLIGATIONS IN SEASON OF GOOD WILL

PROMISE MUST BE HONOURED IN ANNIVERSARY YEAR

SNP International Development Spokesperson, Pete Wishart MP, has called on the UK Government to finally meet its international aid commitments – after 40 years of failing to do so.

In 1970, the UK committed to UN Resolution 2626 to donate 0.7% of its GDP to support poorer countries. In 2008, the UK’s contribution was just 0.48%.

2010 marks the 40th anniversary of the pledge – and five years since the G8 promised to boost aid at Gleneagles.

Commenting, Mr Wishart said:

“In this, the season of goodwill, it’s time for a New Year’s Resolution from the UK Government.

“Times are tough in the UK but that’s no excuse - for forty years, we have let the poorest and most vulnerable in the world down by failing to meet international aid commitments. This shameful record has to end in 2010.

“Since coming to power in 2007, the SNP Government has doubled Scotland's international aid budget and is building strong links with Malawi and other Sub-Saharan nations.

“I visited Malawi earlier this year and I saw at first hand the very real difference that this vital support provides. From help delivering children’s meals to helping with infrastructure to support for agricultural programs Scotland’s relationship with Malawi is welcome and making a difference.

“Small, independent nations such as Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway all meet their international aid commitments. If Scotland had the same fiscal rights and responsibilities as a normal country, we would be able to prioritise vital projects such as this.”

“Westminster is holding Scotland back.”

LABOUR IS ON TRACK TO MAKE SCOTLAND LOSE OUT



LABOUR IS ON TRACK TO MAKE SCOTLAND LOSE OUT

HIGH SPEED RAIL MUST CONTINUE TO SCOTLAND

Commenting on the failure of Whitehall commissioned proposals submitted to the UK Government today (Wednesday) to outline detailed plans for an extension of the high speed rail link to Scotland, SNP Transport Spokesman Angus MacNeil said:

“A high speed rail link would revolutionise travel between Scotland and England and any report to Lord Adonis should rightly have included detailed plans of how this can be achieved.

“To halt the line in the West Midlands would put the buffers on the economic advantages that could be brought north of the border by this service.

“Extending the high-speed line to Scotland wouldn’t only bring considerable financial benefits but would also have a significant environmental impact by cutting the number of short haul flights. The Tory policy to extend the line as far as Leeds also forgets Scotland and would make little dent in the flight reduction which they claim their policy is aimed at.

"The SNP believe high speed rail system offers the best solution to transport problems between Scotland, England and Wales. The Spanish Government has set an excellent example – investing long term in links between all major cities.

“The UK Government report and white paper, due to be published in March, must include details of the extension of the line to Scotland - otherwise Labour is on track to make Scotland lose out from this substantial opportunity.

LABOUR MUST CLIMB DOWN ON CADET CUTS



LABOUR MUST CLIMB DOWN ON CADET CUTS

As Cadet leaders warn defence funding cuts will threaten the future of the youth organisation, SNP Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP has hit out at the UK Government’s short-sightedness and called for a u-turn on the damaging cuts.

There is growing support for Mr Robertson’s House of Commons Early Day Motion which expresses concern at the £4 million reduction in cadet resources and called on Ministers to back track on the harmful decision.

Commenting, Mr Robertson said:

“The Cadet Corps is on the eve of its 150 year anniversary and instead of rewarding this proud, long-standing tradition the UK Government is making damaging moves which undermine the important role the force plays.

“Cadets are our soldiers of tomorrow with a quarter of Army recruits having belonged to the scheme. The leadership and discipline instilled in teenagers by the Cadets is second to none and these cuts make an absolute mockery of Gordon Brown’s stated aim to increase Cadet numbers.

“The £4 million pound saving is a slight amount to spend on an altogether positive scheme when Labour is planning on squandering £100 billion on the unwanted and wholly negative Trident renewal.

“Gordon Brown was forced to u-turn on Gurkhas and turn tail on the TA. Now Downing Street must climb down on Cadet cuts.

LABOUR’S POLICIES FLY IN THE FACE OF OWN LEADER’S NEW YEAR MESSAGE



LABOUR’S POLICIES FLY IN THE FACE OF OWN LEADER’S NEW YEAR MESSAGE

“DON’T WRECK RECOVERY”: BROWN MUST PRACTICE WHAT HE PREACHES

SNP Treasury spokesman, Stewart Hosie MP, has slammed the “sheer hypocrisy” of Gordon Brown’s New Year message and called on the Prime Minister to practice what he preaches after reports Gordon Brown will call for economic growth.

Earlier this month Mr Hosie criticised the UK Government’s pre-budget report for failing to accelerate capital spending to stimulate the economy back to growth, and only last week the Secretary of State for Scotland finally admitted that Labour is slashing the Scottish budget.

Commenting ,Mr Hosie said:

“To recover from the downturn we need a recession-busting plan to protect jobs, encourage growth and safeguard front line services, but the UK Government has so far failed spectacularly to provide this much needed recovery package.

“We need action not words. The man who led the country into this recession may talk of growth but, instead of accelerating capital spending in a pre-budget report which could have made a real difference to the economy, Labour delivered a pre-election report which dealt a hammer blow to Scottish recovery.

“Labour’s own policies fly in the face of their leader’s New Year message and continue to choke recovery in Scotland. Rather than promoting growth, only last week in an interview with the Herald newspaper, Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy admitted the Labour Government was slashing the Scottish Budget.

“The Scottish Government has done what it can to boost spending, accelerating £350 million of capital spending into vital areas such as affordable housing and other infrastructure projects. In 2010 we need further acceleration of capital spending to maintain this level of support and encourage growth. Instead Scotland’s budget is set to fall by over £800 million at the hands of Labour.

“Promoting growth is the best way of tackling the UK's deficit. If 2010 will be a year for Labour to practice as its leader preaches, then it must halt the cuts to the Scottish budget and deliver a sustainable recovery package. As it stands, Gordon Brown’s words ring hollow.”

THREAT TO SCOTLAND’S SEVENS SLAMMED



THREAT TO SCOTLAND’S SEVENS SLAMMED

HOME OF SEVENS COULD BE CUT OUT OF COMPETITION

The threatened disappearance of Scotland’s Rugby Sevens team from
major international championships has been challenged by SNP MSP and
former Sports Minister Stewart Maxwell.

The International Rugby Board has indicated they will scrap the Rugby
Sevens World Cup – when the sport takes up its new place in the
Olympics – despite the World Cup providing a massive boost to Rugby's
profile through being broadcast in 200 countries.

As Scotland cannot compete as a team in its own right at the Olympics
without the World Cup Scotland will not have a premier international
tournament to compete in, despite inventing the game of Sevens.

Mr Maxwell is now demanding answers from the IRB and the SRU after the
Olympic Committee confirmed this decision was made by the Rugby board
and not a condition of Olympic participation.

Mr Maxwell said:

“Rugby Sevens deserves to be in the Olympics and I am glad it will be
one of the new sports from 2016, but this leaves Scotland’s Rugby
Sevens side out in the cold.

“The IRB seem determined to scrap the World Cup – taking away
Scotland’s right to compete as a Rugby Sevens team in a major
tournament. For this to happen to the country that invented the game
is unacceptable.

“When other sports compete in both the Olympics and a World event of
their own it seems ridiculous that Rugby Sevens should be any
different.

“Maintaining the Rugby Sevens World Cup would ensure, that until an
Independent Scotland can field her own team in the Olympics,
Scotland’s place on the world stage is secured.

“At the same time instead of fighting for a small share of TV and
sporting coverage with all the many sports at the Olympics, keeping
the Rugby Sevens World Cup ensures Rugby Sevens has an opportunity to
capture the public’s attention through the worldwide coverage that the
World Cup receives.

“The SRU must use their place in the IRB to stop this plan that will
push Scotland’s Sevens – the home of Sevens - off the world stage.”

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

NEW YEAR APPEAL FOR PARTIES TO BACK MINIMUM PRICING



NEW YEAR APPEAL FOR PARTIES TO BACK MINIMUM PRICING

Welcoming calls by doctors leaders today urging politicians of all
parties to back Scottish Government plans for minimum pricing for
alcohol, SNP MSP and member of the Scottish Parliament Health
Committee Michael Matheson said politicians whose continued to oppose
minimum pricing looked increasingly irresponsible.

The British Medical Association Scotland unveiled a series of New Year
resolutions for the country's politicians – with a plea for all
parties to get behind the Alcohol Bill top of the list. Dr Brian
Keighley, chairman of the BMA's Scottish Council, said minimum pricing
could have "a significant and positive impact on health" as part of a
co-ordinated strategy to tackle Scotland's drink problem. He said:
"Scotland's alcohol consumption rates are staggering. More than a
million people in Scotland are drinking hazardously or harmfully.

Welcoming the BMAS intervention, Mr Matheson, said:

“The evidence and expert opinion now supporting minimum pricing is
overwhelming and those politicians who continue to oppose the policy
look increasingly irresponsible.

“As the BMAS recognise, the scale of Scotland's alcohol misuse problem
is shocking: 42,500 alcohol-related hospital discharges; 1,500 deaths
per year; soaring rates of liver cirrhosis; the eighth highest
consumption in the world, and a 2.25 billion annual cost in public
services and lost productivity.

“The coalition in support of minimum pricing is broad and growing –
the police, health professionals, the licensed trade, the British
Liver Trust, and the four Chief Medical Officers across the UK. All
political parties must get behind that consensus and back a policy
that can save lives, cut crime and improve quality of life.

“These calls by the BMAS underline why the Scottish Government is
right to tackle the scourge of alcohol misuse.’’

UK GOVERNMENT MUST RELEASE FOSSIL FUEL FUND



UK GOVERNMENT MUST RELEASE FOSSIL FUEL FUND

A BLOCK OF SNP MPs CAN REMOVE WESTMINSTER BLOCKAGE

SNP WILL TARGET THE FOSSIL FUEL LEVY IN THE EMERGENCY BUDGET LIKELY TO
TAKE PLACE AFTER THE ELECTION

SNP Energy and Environment spokesperson Mike Weir MP has rounded on
Treasury intransigence over the refusal to release of more than £176
million from the Scottish Fossil Fuel Levy fund to help tackle climate
change and develop the renewable industry. Mr Weir confirmed that the
SNP will target the Fossil Fuel Levy in the emergency budget to take
place after the election.

The Fossil Fuel Levy was worth £68m when the SNP Government took
office in May 2007. It now stands at £176.25m - virtually trebled.

Under current Treasury rules, if we access any of this money Scotland
loses the same amount of cash from our general budget. It can only be
accessed by the Scottish Government, to support the development of
green energy. Unless we can get the Fossil Fuel Levy, it goes to
waste - when it could be used to fund vital green energy projects in
Scotland.

Mr Weir said:

"Scotland has the potential to lead the world on renewable energy -
but Westminster intransigence is holding Scotland back.

"The value of the Fossil Fuel fund has virtually trebled since 2007,
and with it the potential for Scotland to invest in our green energy
future. For example, £176m would be enough to build a world class test
and development centre for offshore wind or fully fund the first wave
of infrastructure upgrades identified in our National Renewables
Infrastructure Plan to enable us to fulfil our potential in offshore
green energy - especially offshore wind.

"Another option would be to say the Fossil Fuel Levy funds would be
enough to build a district heating system big enough to supply a town
of around 40,000 people.

"On the one hand UK ministers tell us of the need to move to a low
carbon economy, but on the other they refuse to release to the
Scottish Government a fund to help us to develop our renewable
potential without a corresponding cut in Scotland's budget.

"Scotland has shown the way with world leading climate change
legislation. We have rejected the dangerous mirage of nuclear energy,
and are ensuring that we have the clean green energy to ensure a low
carbon future.

"The intransigence of the Chancellor in refusing to release this fund
demonstrates that we need to intensify the pressure so that common
sense prevails - and that a block of SNP MPs at the General Election
can remove the Westminster blockage. The likely emergency budget after
the General Election - and a possible hung parliament - provides an
ideal opportunity."

BBC URGED TO MAKE SCOTLAND LOCAL



BBC URGED TO MAKE SCOTLAND LOCAL

The BBC Trust has today been urged to recognise different regions of
Scotland through it’s TV news broadcasts.

Aberdeen North MSP Brian Adam has called on the BBC to increase their
volume and quality of localised news content. The call comes at the
same time as the BBC is carrying out a consultation on BBC Alba, and
STV looks to re-evaluate content.

Urging the BBC to make Scotland local the SNP MSP has written to the
BBC Trust suggesting they consider regional opt outs from Reporting
Scotland or as part of a wider news programme within Scotland.

Mr Adam said:

“As far as the BBC is concerned Scotland is all one region. The
result is that those of us living in the North or the Highlands see
very little of our local news on the TV.

“While BBC Radio produces local opt outs and STV broadcasts news for
the North, the West and the East of Scotland, much of the BBC TV
content is focussed on the central belt.

"The current arrangement that we get for news from the major
broadcasters in Scotland simply isn't satisfactory. The BBC have a
duty towards license payers across this country, and they simply
aren't doing them justice."

"Recent reviews within the BBC agree with this and so I'm calling on
them to re-evaluate their news content north of the border. Currently
STV have regional opt-outs, and I see no reason why we couldn't have a
similar set up on the BBC."

“A Scottish digital channel offers the opportunity to expand local
news but why wait?

"Both STV and the BBC have the facilities in Aberdeen, in Dundee, in
Inverness and I'm sure that people in the North East and Highlands
would welcome more local reporting, as would others across the
country."

Monday, 28 December 2009

FORGOTTEN FIFE SCIENTIST NOMINATED FOR SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT RECOGNITION



FORGOTTEN FIFE SCIENTIST NOMINATED FOR SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT RECOGNITION

A Fife MSP has nominated a Fife woman to be one of the historical
figures to have a Scottish Parliament Committee Room named after them.

Tricia Marwick MSP has nominated Mary Somerville (1780-1872) who lived
in Burntisland and was one of the foremost scientific people of her
day.

Mrs Marwick said:

"Here is a woman who is commemorated on the moon, has an island in the
arctic named after her but is all but unknown in Scotland. I want The
Scottish Parliament to put that right."

Mary Somerville was born in Jedburgh but was brought up in Burntisland
where the family had their home. Her family home in Burntisland is now
known as Somerville House.

She was one of the first two women to be admitted to the Royal
Astronomical Society and was the first person to have the word
‘scientist’ attributed to her.

Her outstanding career has been recognised by having an island, an
asteroid and a lunar crater named after her. Somerville College,
Oxford was also named after her.

Mrs Marwick added:

“Mary Somerville is a towering figure in the scientific community, she
was admired by all the leading thinkers of the day but she has never
been given the recognition she deserves in Scotland.

“Mary Somerville was self-taught at a time when women were not
expected to be educated. Her legacy has been recognised through being
the first person to be named as a scientist, as well as having an
island, an asteroid and a lunar crater named after her.”

When John Stuart Mill the British Philosopher put forward to
Parliament the first Petition for Womens' suffrage it was Mary
Somerville' s name that he wanted to be the first signature on it.
Somerville College was named after her because of her support for
women and education.

Mrs Marwick continued;

"However, despite all of her achievements, Mary Somerville is almost
unknown in Scotland. This is the time to mark her legacy and I think
it would be a fitting tribute to her and her work if one of the
Scottish Parliament’s Committee Rooms was to be named after her.

“I know that a number of MSPs will be putting forward their own
suggestions for historical figures who they feel should have a
Scottish Parliament Committee Room named after them. I can think of
no better choice than Mary Somerville and I will be making the case
for her at every possible opportunity,”

MASON LAMBASTS LABOUR OVER CHILD POVERTY WARNING



MASON LAMBASTS LABOUR OVER CHILD POVERTY WARNING

Seizing on the warning by Scotland's children's commissioner that the
UK government’s key goal for tackling child poverty will not be met
next year, SNP Work and Pension’s spokesperson John Mason MP said that
the warning must be a wake up call for Labour Ministers.

The UK Government set the target of halving child poverty in 2010,
ahead of eradicating the problem altogether by 2020. Tam Baillie,
Scotland's Commissioner for Children, said progress made in earlier
years had stalled, and warned the 2010 target would not be achieved

Mr Mason, the MP for Glasgow East, said:

"The children’s commissioners warning must be a wake up call for
Ministers in London. After twelve years in government it is shameful
that Labour have failed to close the gap between rich and poor created
during the Thatcher years.

"Gordon Brown should hang his head in shame as banking bosses get
multi-million pound rewards while one in five children live below the
bread-line.

"It is clear that there is a particular problem with the tax and
benefits system which must be reformed to ensure that nobody is
overlooked or trapped in a cycle of poverty. Even the Labour weighted
Treasury Select Committee has expressed its dismay that, despite
repeated warnings, the UK Government will fail to meet its poverty
targets by a significant margin and the Scottish Parliament's Local
Government Committee has called for flexibility in Scotland over the
benefits system so it can work for Scotland.

"No issue underlines more why Scotland must have full responsibility
for all tax, spending and social welfare issues so that we can tackle
the scourge of poverty.

"The Scottish Government is doing everything it can with the powers
that are available to it. Practical steps, like freezing the Council
Tax, progressive abolition of prescription charges and the extension
of free school meals to pupils from hard-pressed families, are
delivering and we will do more.

"There is enormous political goodwill towards fighting poverty, and
yet the UK government has failed to match its talk with action.
Scotland has the will to eradicate poverty but we are being held back
by a tax and benefits system that is failing thousands of people.”

DEMANDS FOR INQUIRY INTO INSOLVENCY INDUSTRY



DEMANDS FOR INQUIRY INTO INSOLVENCY INDUSTRY

WEIR ROUNDS ON LABOUR’S ROTTEN REGULATION

LIQUIDATORS CASH IN WHILE CREDITORS GET PENNIES

Calls for an investigation into the insolvency industry have been made amid concerns that administrators are cashing in at the expense of creditors. SNP spokesperson on regulatory reform Mike Weir MP is leading demands after parliamentary questions revealed a worrying picture of how the insolvency industry is operating.

Mr Weir’s concerns were sparked over delays and the level of compensation for the Farepak victims - the Christmas hamper firm collapsed in October 2006 owing £37m to more than 119,000 savers. More than three years later, savers are likely to recover just 5p in the pound, while the final bill for the administrators and their legal advisers could reach £3m.

But Farepak families are not alone in losing out. With as many as fifty businesses going bust every day the insolvency gravy train is an opportunity for the administration industry to make vast sums out of the recession. High Street and high profile examples include:

- Zavvi, the music retail chain which went into administration in November 2008, owing unsecured creditors nearly £185m – including 510,000 unredeemed vouchers worth an estimated £4.1m. Creditors are likely to get back between 5p and 10p in the pound. Administrators Ernst & Young have so far collected £3.2m in fees.

- Furniture chain, Land of Leather, went into administration with debts of £37m in January 2009. Creditors received just 9p in the pound, while administrators Deloitte and Touche collected fees of £2.5m.

The staggering scale of the situation is reinforced by parliamentary questions tabled by Mr Weir in the House of Commons which reveal that:

- 15,535 firms went into liquidation in 2007/08, owing an average of £349,501 each or £5.5bn in total.
- Liquidations have no statutory time limit and some, such as the Israel-British Bank, which entered liquidation in 1974 was only finalised in September this year. Also in 1974, holiday firm Apal Travel went into liquidation – finalised only in August this year by which time some of the holidaymakers entitled to receive the 74p in the pound settlement had probably died in the intervening 35 years.
- indeed, more than 19,500 liquidations started five years or more have not yet been finalised.
- 6,629 liquidations started 20 years or more ago have not yet been finalised.
- The level of fees charged by insolvency practitioners is not regulated.

Mr Weir said:

“The UK government must take a serious look at the workings of the insolvency industry which appears to be raking in a fortune at the expense of creditors. It looks like another example of rip-off Britain, and another failure by the Labour government to regulate properly.

“After three years, victims of the Farepak collapse have been left with pennies while the administrators have pocketed millions, and this by no means is an isolated case. I have been utterly astonished by the sheer number of unresolved insolvencies – there are thousands going back more than twenty years.

“There is something seriously wrong when liquidations can take a generation to finalise and people are actually dying before the insolvency gravy train comes to a halt.

“Just like the banks, current UK insolvency regulation has failed. Part of the problem seems to be that the industry is largely self-regulated. Insolvency work is handled by licensed practitioners, most of whom work for accountancy firms. The practitioners are in turn regulated by accountancy and law professional bodies, which have no independence from the firms they regulate. What’s more, there is no independent complaints investigation procedure or ombudsman to adjudicate on malpractices – there are no questions over fees or delays.

“This is clearly a pertinent and pressing issue in the current economic climate and the UK Government must not shy away from investigating the insolvency industry and taking action. We know only too well from Labour’s banking crisis the cost of doing nothing.”

Sunday, 27 December 2009

VOTERS ACROSS SCOTLAND BACK SNP



VOTERS ACROSS


SCOTLAND


BACK SNP


LOCAL BY-ELECTION ANALYSIS SHOWS SWING TO SNP DOUBLING SINCE 2007

REAL VOTERS BACK SNP ACROSS SCOTLAND.

SNP GAINING VOTES ACROSS ALL OF SCOTLAND

An analysis of all local by-elections in 2009 since the Holyrood elections shows that the swing to the SNP from Labour has more than doubled from the high water mark year of 2007 as the SNP enters its third year in Government.

In 2007 the SNP enjoyed a swing of 2.1% in all three local by-elections held in that year. Now, in 2009, the swing to the SNP from Labour in all by-elections has increased further. With 12 by-elections held in 2009 the SNP has secured a 5.3% swing from Labour.

Commenting on the analysis the SNP's Business Convener and Minister for Parliament, Bruce Crawford MSP said:

"These are excellent results for the SNP. For the swings from Labour to be increasing year on year shows that the people of Scotland support the SNP Government, and back the SNP’s record of delivery.

"For that swing to increase over three years from 2007 when the SNP ended Labour's dominance in Scottish politics shows that Labour's position in Scotland is getting weaker – and that it is the SNP which is moving even further forward from our high point in May 2007.

“People trust the SNP because the SNP trusts the people. The reality is that people like what they get from the SNP – in local communities and across all of Scotland – and they like what the SNP Government is doing by freezing council tax and investing more to help the construction sector.

"Our positive message of confidence in Scotland and the people of Scotland is winning support against the tired old scare mongering and petty politics of the London parties.

"That the swings to the SNP are also greater in supposed areas of Labour strength shows that we are breathing down their necks in what used to be their heartlands and in a strong position as we look toward a General Election and referendum campaign in the year ahead.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

SCOTTISH ‘WALK OF FAME’ TO CELEBRATE SUCCESS



SCOTTISH ‘WALK OF FAME’ TO CELEBRATE SUCCESS

Scotland could mark her cultural successes with a Hollywood style walk of fame.

South of Scotland MSP, Aileen Campbell, has today called for the establishment of a ‘Scottish Walk of Fame’ to celebrate Scottish success in arts, culture and around the world.

Such a celebration could see Scots artists and cultural stars from Lulu to John Byrne, Robbie Coltrane to Irvine Welsh or Brian Cox and Alan Cumming honoured on our streets.

Ms Campbell, a member of the Parliament’s Culture Committee has written to Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Culture and Jim Mather, Minister for Tourism, as well as Historic Scotland and Visit Scotland, suggesting the idea.

Commenting, Ms Campbell said:

“Scotland has made a huge contribution to the world and it is only right that we celebrate the success Scots have achieved at home and abroad.

“A ‘Scottish Walk of Fame’ could showcase these sons and daughters of Scotland and create an amazing cultural map of our country.

“Plaques could be placed around Scotland on buildings or streets in places of significance to the recipient, or gathered on the major streets of Scotland’s towns and city’s like the Royal Mile or Sauchiehall Street. Just like the walk of fame in Hollywood.

“We have many locations that have produced numerous great cultural and artistic stars – Glasgow’s School or Art or the RSAMD, Traverse Theatre or the Barrowlands or some of the bars and clubs where traditional stars have made their names like the Ceilidh place in Ullapool, or Eden Court in Inverness. Whether venues where our stars have made their breakthroughs, or the bars and café’s they have haunted there is much that would make a great cultural trail through Scotland and inspire Scotland’s next generation to seek the same success as their idols.

“I have written to the Culture Minister, Fiona Hyslop and Tourism Minister, Jim Mather, asking them to consdier the idea and also, both Historic and Visit Scotland, asking what their views are and what benefits it could bring.”

DISABLED SCOOTERS TAXED AS FORMULA ONE CARS



DISABLED SCOOTERS TAXED AS FORMULA ONE CARS

SNP MSP Bill Wilson has called for action to reverse a 10% tax hike on motorised scooters for disabled people.

The tax, confirmed by the European Union in June sees mobility scooters classed as leisure vehicles – alongside Formula One Racing Cars – which sees them covered by a 10% import tax.

The 10% tax hike could mean an additional £250 being paid by disabled people for what are often essential means of transport.

The tax follows a ruling by the World Customs Organisation in 2005 and a change in the EU tax levy was confirmed in July this year.

Charity Elizabeth Finn Care, who are campaigning against the tax, estimate the Government will take in £6 million in revenue from the scooters.

Dr Wilson has lodged a Parliamentary motion calling for the tax to be dropped.

West of Scotland MSP Bill Wilson said:

“I don’t think a mobility scooter would stand much of a chance against an F1 car.

“It is utterly ridiculous that scooters used by disabled people to get around are being taxed the same as cars used for sports racing. There is no comparison between the two.

“If they are going to be taxed the same then let’s see Jensen Button and Lewis Hamilton win the grandprix in a scooter.

“Common sense must prevail. Disabled people are often reliant on benefit funding or in lower paid employment, with a survey for the DWP showing that 24 per cent of individuals in disabled households were in poverty compared to only 14 % in non disabled households. Adding extra charges for essential equipment is only going to make that situation worse.

“This is sheer stupidity and must be changed. I have lodged a parliamentary motion and will be writing to the UK Treasury and new EU tax commissioner calling for his ridiculous situation to be changed.”

Thursday, 24 December 2009

PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTORS BACK MINIMUM PRICING



PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTORS BACK MINIMUM PRICING


CHRISTMAS CHEER MUST BE FOLLOWED BY POLITICAL ACTION


Scotland’s public health directors have written to MSPs urging them to back minimum pricing for alcohol as part of the Scottish government’s package of measures to address Scotland’s relationship with alcohol.

Writing to MSPs the letter from the Scottish Directors of Public Health Group, signed by 17 directors of Public Health in Scotland states:

Over the past thirty years in Scotland, our level of deaths directly caused by alcohol – conditions like alcoholic cirrhosis and alcoholic heart disease – has almost tripled. One person in Scotland is dying every three hours of every day as a direct result of alcohol, many of them prematurely. Fifteen of the twenty local areas in the UK with the highest male alcohol-related death rates between 1998 and 2004 are in Scotland, and the top five are all Scottish, spread across from Inverclyde to Dundee.”

The Directors continue to call for support to end cheap alcohol and promotions in the interests of Scotland’s public health.

“Minimum pricing and reduced discounting are ways of reducing alcohol consumption that do not require the approval of the Westminster Parliament. For the sake of the health and social wellbeing of the people in Scotland we encourage you to support these actions.”

Welcoming the letter which has been sent to MSPs of all parties SNP MSP Michael Matheson, a member of the health committee said:

“No one wants to stop people drinking safely and sensibly and many people will be looking forward to toasting Christmas and the New Year with a drink.

"While we enjoy ourselves sensibly over Christmas with family and friends, Christmas cheer must be followed by political action to tackle the problem of cheap cider, vodka and beer wreaking havoc on our society, damaging Scotland's health and affecting too many of Scotland's families.

“This is a significant show of support for the Scottish Government’s bold proposals to address Scotland’s relationship with alcohol.

"Our alcohol consumption is increasing and the relative cost of alcohol has decreased. Despite numerous opportunities supermarkets have shown they will not act responsibly when it comes to price and alcohol.

"As the supermarkets will not take action the Government has no choice but to put in place a responsible price for alcohol.

“Scotland’s Public Health Directors are right to approach MSPs and I hope their letter is welcomed by members from all parties.

“I am confident that as the evidence in favour of minimum pricing is presented to MSPs of all parties in the Health Committee Scotland will see politicians put party politics aside in favour of the compelling case for action to build a healthier and safer Scotland.”

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

UNTOLD NUMBER OF CHILDREN TO SPEND CHRISTMAS BEHIND BARBED WIRE



UNTOLD NUMBER OF CHILDREN TO SPEND CHRISTMAS BEHIND BARBED WIRE

UK BORDER AGENCY LOCK KIDS IN - AND SANTA OUT

ENDING CHILD DETENTIONS WITHIN LABOUR’S GIFT

The SNP has rounded on the UK Government over the detention of an untold
number of children in immigration removal centres over Christmas.

In a parliamentary answer to SNP Home Affairs spokesperson Pete Wishart
MP, the Home Office said it could make no “estimate of the number of
families expected to be detained in immigration removal centres during
Christmas 2009”. However, official UK Border Agency figures obtained by
the SNP show the UK Government detained 1315 children in three detention
centres across the UK over a 15 month period - over 100 of those in
Scotland.

In a separate parliamentary answer, the Home Office also failed to say
whether any special festive arrangements would be made for children
detained over the festive period – though a recent report revealed that an
Anglican church minister, dressed as Father Christmas and hoping to bring
some festive cheer for detained children, was refused access to Yarls Wood
removal centre amid angry scenes with security officials.

Commenting, Mr Wishart said:

“It is simply wrong to detain children at any time of year, but an untold
number face a bleak Christmas behind barbed wire because this Labour
government are unwilling to find alternatives.

“Detaining children in centres made for adults is immoral. Whatever the
position of the parents, there is no justification for keeping children
under lock and key.

“It doesn’t bear thinking about the sort of Christmas day these children
will experience. I was astonished that Border Agency security even barred
a church minister from delivering presents to one facility – it is like
some Dickensian tale.

“The Scottish Government’s success in bringing a pilot project to Glasgow
to keep families out of Dungavel is welcome – but it is within the UK
Government’s gift to end this practice and ensure detention alternatives
are used for all children.

BROWN'S CHILCOT HEARING MUST BE BEFORE ELECTION



BROWN'S CHILCOT HEARING MUST BE BEFORE ELECTION

BROWN'S CHILCOT HEARING MUST BE BEFORE ELECTION - BROWN SHOULD BRING HIS HEARING FORWARD

Commenting on the news that Gordon Brown and other UK Ministers will not
give evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry into the war in Iraq until after the
General Election SNP Defence Spokesman and Westminster leader Angus
Robertson said:

"Gordon Brown signed the cheques for Labour's war and before the public
goes to the polls they should have the chance to see him and other
ministers held to account.

"It is utterly ridiculous that the Prime Minister will not be held to
account before the election for his actions around the war in Iraq.

"If Labour are confident that they were right and the public were wrong
over Iraq then Labour Ministers should bring forward their evidence and
face up to the charges they face over this illegal conflict."

CHRISTMAS REDUNDANCIES TO BE DISCUSSED



CHRISTMAS REDUNDANCIES TO BE DISCUSSED

CHRISTMAS REDUNDANCIES TO BE DISCUSSED - Bausch & Lomb: First Redundancies on Christmas Eve

MSP SECURES MEMBERS DEBATE

SNP MSP Angela Constance has won a parliamentary debate on the closure of the award winning Bausch and Lomb plant in her Livingston constituency as the first redundancies go ahead on Christmas Eve.

Bausch and Lomb are phasing the plants closure and transferring production to their site in Ireland.

The debate will take place on Wednesday 6th January.

Speaking ahead of the first phase of redundancies Ms Constance said

“I regret that Bausch and Lomb are continuing to pursue closure of its award winning manufacturing site in Livingston.

This is a huge blow to the West Lothian economy where unemployment is at its highest in a generation.

It is hard at any time of the year to be losing your job and livelihood more so at Christmas.

The Bausch and Lomb site at Livingston is highly productive and efficient and there is a real injustice for staff who have been crucial to the site’s success. I hope the debate in Parliament will reinforce the lessons we have to learn to keep jobs in Scotland”.

ONE STOP HOUSING SHOP COULD SAVE MONEY



ONE STOP HOUSING SHOP COULD SAVE MONEY

NORTH EAST SCHEME COULD LEAD THE WAY

Councils are being urged to look at cutting costs and improving access
to
housing by setting up an online housing portal.

Moray and Aberdeenshire Council are setting up a joint application
process
online, for both local authorities and Social landlords in their areas -
allowing people seeking housing to complete only one form, despite
applying to both areas.

North East MSP Maureen Watt has written to Housing Minister Alex Neil
and
COSLA suggesting the scheme be rolled out across regions or across the
country.

Ms Watt said:

"In many cases the process of applying for homes in one area is no
different to that in the council next door. For some people getting a
roof over their head will be more important than where they are while
others may want to transfer for work or family.

"A simple online application process, where applicants can pick the area
they live in and choose the local authority areas they want to apply to
could dramatically cut costs for councils at a time when resources are
tight.

"This shouldn't change the priority given to people already within a
council area or let anyone jump the queue, but this kind of scheme could
help cut costs and simplify the housing process for many people at what
is
a difficult time.

"I have written to the Housing Minister seeking his support and to other
local authorities urging them to look at this kind of scheme. This
could
be a national scheme or groups of neighbouring councils could get
together
- the North East, the West, Edinburgh and Lothians for example.

"I know of constituents who live close to the boundaries of local
authorities and who work across boundaries who would happily move from
one
to the other."

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

FURTHER EMBARRASSMENT FOR GRAY AS MINISTER QUITS FRONT BENCH



FURTHER EMBARRASSMENT FOR GRAY AS MINISTER QUITS FRONT BENCH

"LABOUR DISARRAY OVER DUAL MANDATES"

Commenting on the announcement that Labour MSP Cathy Jamieson is to stand
down from Labour's front bench in order to attempt to stand for the
Kilmarnock & Loudoun seat in the approaching Westminster elections, the
SNP Westminster Group Chief Whip Stewart Hosie MP said:

"This is a further blow and embarrassment for Iain Gray. Labour is clearly
rattled and Gray's leadership is being quickly undermined.

"Cathy Jamieson's hypocritical decision to seek a new dual mandate also
blows apart Labour's commitment to the recommendations of the Kelly
Report. Unlike the First Minister, Cathy Jamieson gave no indication in
the 2007 elections to the voters of Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley that
she would seek election to the next Westminster Parliament.

"Labour's disarray brings into sharp focus the fact that they are only
concerned about their political survival, while the SNP are focussed on a
positive agenda of jobs and economic recovery."

BBC ALREADY IN BREACH OF OBLIGATIONS – HOSIE



BBC ALREADY IN BREACH OF OBLIGATIONS – HOSIE

SUPPOSED TO BE SCOTLAND’S NATIONAL BROADCASTER – NOT PUBLICITY AGENTS FOR
THE LONDON-BASED PARTIES

Scottish National Party General Election Campaign Co-ordinator Stewart
Hosie MP said that the SNP will be submitting a Freedom of Information
request in order to the BBC to establish the extent to which it has been
in formal discussions with the three London-based political parties about
the proposed TV election debates.

On BBC Radio Good Morning Scotland, the BBC’s Chief Political Adviser Ric
Bailey admitted that they had been in formal talks with the Tories, Labour
and Lib Dems about these debates – and only now are proposing to discuss
the issue with the SNP.

Mr Hosie said:

“By making an agreement with the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems about these
debates before even talking to the Scottish National Party, our legal
advisers believe there is a prima facia case that the BBC have already
breached their obligations to fairness and impartiality.

“The BBC is supposed to be Scotland’s national broadcaster – not a
publicity agent for the three London-based parties – and they have already
failed in their duty to their Scottish audience. It cannot be right to
give far more election coverage in Scotland to parties which have far less
support than the SNP.

“It is extraordinary and quite unacceptable, and the SNP will be
submitting a Freedom of Information request to the BBC to establish the
extent of their negotiations with the London-based parties – in terms of
meetings, letters, emails, etc – about agreeing a format for these debates
which is clearly unfair to their Scottish audience.

“Instead of proper consultation, we had a panicky phone call last night
from the BBC after the matter had been publicised. In contrast, we have
had useful discussions with Sky, and the priority now is to have urgent
meetings with the broadcasters to ask them formally what there proposals
for Scotland and the SNP are.

“As well as setting aside their own obligations to impartiality and to
Scotland, the BBC are also pursuing a fundamentally flawed proposal in
terms of the democratic process in the UK.

“The BBC’s Chief Political Adviser Ric Bailey said that we have a ‘Prime
Ministerial system’, which is simply not the case. We have a
parliamentary system of election, and the SNP are playing a full role in
that process as a major party – we are currently leading in the polls in
Scotland for the General Election, as well as being a party of government.

“And given that the outcome of the election could be a hung Westminster
Parliament, it is entirely possible that the votes of SNP MPs could play a
crucial role in the next House of Commons, as we seek to maximise
Scotland’s voice and influence.”

DWP PUNISHING PEOPLE FOR INCOME PROTECTION



DWP PUNISHING PEOPLE FOR INCOME PROTECTION

FSA URGED TO ADD GUIDANCE ON BENEFITS IMPACT

Jamie Hepburn, SNP MSP for Central Scotland, has condemned UK Government
rules which have left one of his constituents facing bankruptcy and
repossession because of an insurance policy designed to prevent that
situation.

An Income Protection Policy, designed to ensure mortgage and loan
repayments are covered in the event of redundancy is counted as income by
the DWP preventing those who have been made redundant claiming Job Seekers
Allowance.

After being made redundant and claiming six-month’s contribution-based Job
Seeker’s Allowance (JSA), Mr Hepburn’s constituent (who has asked to
remain anonymous) was told that the income from the insurance policy was
over the threshold for claiming income-based JSA and he was no longer
entitled to claim.

Because the policy only covers the value of the mortgage and loan
repayments, Mr Hepburn’s constituent has been effectively left with no
other source of income.

Under UK Government rules, if the insurance policy had been specifically
for the mortgage and loan costs, rather than a general income protection
policy, the rules would not apply and JSA would still be paid.

Mr Hepburn wrote to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to
express his concern, and an appeal tribunal has since considered the case
but found no flexibility in the Government’s rules [1].

Commenting, Jamie Hepburn MSP said:

“This ridiculous situation has left my constituent facing repossession and
bankruptcy just before Christmas – because he took steps to protect
himself from exactly that scenario.

“In difficult times more and more people will be tempted to take these
policies to keep their homes and families safe. They must be aware of the
consequences.

“The FSA should ensure any adviser or seller has to make buyers aware that
the DWP will count this income – even if it only covers mortgages

“I would encourage anyone thinking of taking out insurance policies to
protect their income or debts in the case of redundancy to look carefully
at what effect these would have on their benefit entitlements from the
state. Insurance companies and banks also have a responsibility to
explain such policies clearly to their customers.

“But responsibility also lies with the UK Government not to punish those
who try to protect themselves against a loss of income in these difficult
economic times. If my constituent had not taken out this policy, he could
be entitled to mortgage interest support from the benefits system, as well
as Job Seekers Allowance. Instead, he’s entitled to neither.

“It’s incredible that the UK Government rules are having this effect, and
I’ll be continuing to work with my constituent to see if there’s any
flexibility or support available to him.”

Monday, 21 December 2009

SALMOND SLAMS "RIGGED ELECTION DEBATES" PROPOSAL



SALMOND SLAMS "RIGGED ELECTION DEBATES" PROPOSAL

"HIGH HANDED AND METROPOLITAN MINDSET"

Commenting on the statement from the broadcasters on TV General Election
debates, Scotland's First Minister and leader of the Scottish National
Party Alex Salmond said:

"It is entirely unacceptable to Scotland as well as to the SNP for the
broadcasters to exclude the party that forms the government of Scotland -
and indeed is now leading in Westminster election polls.

"If these debates are to be at all relevant to their audiences, they must
reflect the democratic reality of Scotland and political diversity across
the UK. And that must include SNP involvement in debates broadcast in
Scotland.

"The fact is that the General Election in Scotland will be a two-horse
race between the SNP and Labour - and the most recent Scottish poll for
Westminster put the SNP ahead, at 34 per cent compared to 32 per cent for
Labour, 15 per cent for the Tories, and 12 per cent for the Lib Dems.

"The broadcasters have got to meet their public service obligations to
audiences across the UK, and for them to propose debates which signally
fail to do so shows an extraordinarily high-handed attitude and
depressingly metropolitan mindset. We have had leaders' debates in
Scotland for many years, so there is nothing new in that.

"The broadcasters would do well to recall the debacle experienced by the
BBC's Panorama programme in 1995, when they were forced not to broadcast
an interview with the Prime Minister in Scotland because it breached the
rules of impartiality during a Scottish local election.

"We shall seek guarantees of inclusion from the broadcasters, given their
inescapable duty to ensure fairness and impartiality in election-related
coverage in Scotland.

"Sky has made some constructive suggestions, but we have had no proposals
from the BBC or ITV - which is extraordinary, given that these
broadcasters have the greatest public service obligations.

"We are always prepared to be flexible about options for the format, but
the party of government in Scotland must as a matter of principle and
proper democratic practice be included in any UK-wide debates.

"The SNP are seeking to have a substantial influence at Westminster by
electing a block of 20 or more MPs, with obvious UK-wide political
implications - not least given the perfectly possible outcome of a hung
parliament.

"And on a range of issues which will loom large in the General Election
campaign, the SNP have a distinctive as well as compelling policy
position. For example, while the London-based parties will debate whether
there should be three or four Trident nuclear weapon submarines on the
River Clyde, the SNP will be arguing for none - a position backed by the
Scots Parliament, as well as a majority of Scottish Westminster MPs.

"In other words, both from the Scottish and UK perspectives, the governing
parties of Scotland and indeed Wales cannot have our voices silenced by
rigged debates."

IPSOS MORI POLLING BRIEF

For over six years now, MORI have published their polling figures on the basis of those who are “certain to vote”. This is their own preferred methodology, as it gives the most accurate figures for voting intentions, and it is these figures which Ipsos MORI publish in their online polling report.

http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/poll.aspx?oItemId=2523

It is a sign of desperation that Labour find it necessary to brief on a different, less accurate set of figures, which do not reflect Ipsos MORI’s favoured voting intention figures. The headline figures for Westminster and the Holyrood constituency vote shows the SNP back in the lead on both votes.

1. The Westminster Voting Intentions and an analysis of the seats results in the following outcome:

Party Poll Change Pred Seats Change
SNP 34% 16.34% 16 +10
Labour 32% -7.52% 33 -8
Tory 15% -0.83% 2 1
LibDem 12% -10.63% 8 -3

The historical series for Ipsos MORI polls shows a number of key highlights. Both the Tories and Lib Dems are at their LOWEST level of support recorded in such polls.

Second, in the run up to the 2005 General Election, the SNP were in fourth place at just 13 per cent – and went on to achieve 18 per cent and six seats. Now, on exactly the same “certain to vote” methodology, the SNP are at 34 per cent – the HIGHEST SNP rating ever in an Ipsos MORI poll.

2. The Holyrood Voting Intentions and an analysis of the seats results in the following outcome:

* Note - Seats prediction is based on assuming notional regional vote based on constituency vote.

Party Poll Change Seats Change Constituency Seats Change Regional Seats Change
SNP 36% +3.1% 51 +4 27 +6 24 -2
Labour 32% -0.1% 44 -2 36 -1 8 -1
Tory 12% -4.6% 15 -2 3 -1 12 -1
LibDem 12% -4.2% 15 -1 5 -6 10 5
SSP 2% 2% 1 1 1 1 0 0
Green 3% 3% 1 -1 0 0 1 -1
Other 3% 1% 2 1 1 1 1 0


3. Most important issues facing Scotland

Polling on what people view as the most important issues show that independence and the constitution has moved UP the table of interests since August to fifth place – higher than crime, the environment, immigration and several other important issues.

The figures also show significant differences between Scotland and Britain in the issues regarded as most important – for example, immigration and crime are far lower down the list in Scotland compared to Britain as a whole, while jobs and education are higher up:



What do you see as the most/other important issues facing Scotland/UK today?


Scotland Scotland GB

Aug-09 Nov-09 Nov-09
Unemployment/factory closure/lack of industry 44% 42% 27%
Economy/economic situation/'credit crisis’/crunch 36% 37% 49%
National Health Service/Hospitals/ Health care 23% 24% 20%
Education/schools 26% 24% 12%
Scottish Independence/constitution/Devolution 16% 18% *
Crime/law & order/violence/ vandalism/anti-social (yob) behaviour 17% 15% 24%
Environment/climate change/global warming/pollution 10% 11% 8%
Immigration/immigrants (race relations) 8% 8% 33%
Housing 8% 8% 5%
Drug abuse 5% 6% 3%
Transport/public transport 5% 6% 2%
Terrorism/war in Iraq/Afghanistan/foreign affairs/Defence 5% 5% 25%


4. Leadership ratings show Alex Salmond the only leader with positive figures

MORI asked about the satisfaction of Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Alex Salmond. Alex Salmond was the only leader to have a positive rating compared to negative ratings for Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

The following questions by MORI had the following results:


* Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Gordon Brown is doing his job as Prime Minister?

* Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way David Cameron is doing his job as leader of the opposition?

* And, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way Alex Salmond is doing his job as First Minister of Scotland?


Satisfied Dissatisfied Rating +/-
Alex Salmond 47% 43% +4%
Gordon Brown 41% 49% -8%
David Cameron 36% 47% -11%


Sample: 1,009

Fieldwork dates: 19th November to 23rd November 2009


SCOTS SECRETARY CONFESSES TO CRUEL CUT




SCOTS SECRETARY CONFESSES TO CRUEL CUT

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT CONFIRMS MURPHY ‘LONDON’S MAN IN SCOTLAND’

SNP MPs have rounded on Secretary of State for Scotland after he attempted to bury an acknowledgement that the UK Government is to slash Scotland’s budget in a lecture on spending priorities in today’s (Monday’s) Herald newspaper.

SNP Treasury Spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said:

“After months of saying it ain’t so, the Scottish Secretary has finally acknowledged that the UK Government is making savage cuts to Scotland’s budget – squeezing Scottish services and endangering Scottish jobs.

“To add insult to injury, this cruel cut comes as the Pre Budget Report confirms £50 billion of North Sea Oil revenues will flow into a Treasury black hole and prop up the UK economy over the next six years.

“Never before has the case for independence been more pressing. Scotland can manage our economy and finances far more effectively than the UK Government has ever done but Westminster is holding us back.”

SNP Shadow Scotland Office Spokesperson Angus MacNeil MP added:

“Instead of lecturing the Scottish Government on spending priorities, the Secretary of State should be fighting against this swingeing cut to Scotland’s budget. This latest debacle underlines that Jim Murphy is not Scotland’s man in London but London’s man in Scotland.

“The UK Government needs to cut the things the people of Scotland neither need nor want: the obscene Trident nuclear weapons system and the pointless Scotland Office must top that list.”