Commenting on her interview on the BBC Sunday Politics Scotland programme today - in which Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont claimed she had not used the expression "something for nothing" in relation to people in Scotland benefiting from universal services, but that it had been invented by the SNP - SNP MSP Linda Fabiani said:
"Johann Lamont is trying to re-write history. She appeared to deny that she had ever used the expression 'something for nothing' - and the entire 'something for nothing' speech has been airbrushed from the Labour Party's website.
"But Ms Lamont did say it. It was the central part of what was described as a major speech made in September last year. At the time it was suggested this could become a disastrous approach for her, as Labour adopted the Westminster agenda of cuts, cuts and more cuts - hitting the vulnerable and abandoning hard fought for universal benefits. So it is no surprise that Johann Lamont seems to want to forget and distance herself from that disastrous speech. But it makes it impossible to believe a single word Labour say.
"Scottish Labour is now in a mess about its Cuts Commission. Contrary to what Labour tried to pretend in Dunfermline, and despite Ms Lamont's denial of her own words, they are clearly proposing a cuts agenda to Scotland's public services. These gains of the Scottish Parliament - services delivered by the SNP government - are already effectively and efficiently managed. Labour need to come clean about what they want to cut, and Johann Lamont needs to be honest about what she said."
Date: Thursday, 14th November.
Location: Royal Overseas League, 100 Princes Street, Edinburgh.
This Edinburgh event includes great networking and presentations from a range of business experts on the case for independence. It will also involve a question and answer session. This will provide the opportunity for all attendees to gain greater knowledge of the crucial facts concerning Scotland’s economy.
Register for this event ‘here‘.
For full details of the event visit this link!
First Minister Alex Salmond has today announced that an SNP Government in an independent Scotland will guarantee the minimum wage will keep up with the rising cost of living.
The SNP leader used his conference address to announce that with the powers of an independent Scotland, an SNP Government will establish a Fair Work Commission that will ensure that the minimum wage in Scotland rises by at least the rate of inflation.
The minimum wage has failed to rise in real terms for the 70,000 people in Scotland who receive it for almost a decade. Had the policy announced today been in place for the last five years it would have seen the lowest paid people in Scotland benefit to the tune of £675!
Commenting, the First Minister said:
“Work should pay but we must ensure work pays without reducing people to penury or despair.
“If elected, on independence - this Scottish Government will establish a Fair Work Commission.
“The central pillar of our Fair Work Commission will be to set a minimum wage guarantee.
“This guarantee will ensure a minimum wage that rises – at the very least – in line with inflation.
“Never again will wages of the lowest paid in Scotland fail to keep up with the cost of living.
“If this had been in force in the last five years – the lowest paid Scots would today be £675 better off.”
Reports that the next generation of adults are the most likely to be worse off than their parents in over a century show the future that is on offer to Scotland from the No campaign.
Yesterday's Observer (Sunday) reports that the social mobility and child poverty commission will this week report that “for the first time in over a century there is a real risk that the next generation of adults ends up worse off than today's generation. This is a problem for the children of parents with above-average incomes, not just a problem for those at the bottom. Many, many children face the prospect of having lower living standards than their parents."
The reports come as newly appointed Labour welfare spokesperson Rachel Reeves is quoted in the same paper promising that Labour will be even tougher than the Tories when it comes to making welfare cuts.
Commenting, SNP MSP Kevin Stewart who sits on the Welfare Reform Committee said:
“This is what is on offer to Scotland from the No campaign – a future where today's young grow up poorer than their parents and Labour stigmatises those on welfare just like the Tories do with severe welfare cuts.
“It is a sorry state of affairs and is a further reminder of how out of touch Westminster is with the needs of people in Scotland and the realities of daily life.
“Rather than be subject to the woeful failings of the Westminster Government, Scotland needs the chance to make our own decisions on taxes and welfare.
“With the powers of an independent Scotland we will have the tools to build a fairer, more prosperous Scotland that does far more to address child poverty and social mobility than Westminster has ever achieved.
“Only a Yes vote next year will secure that for people in Scotland and ensure that decisions about Scotland always reflect the needs and priorities of people living here.”
The Scottish National Party has challenged the Chairman of the No campaign Alistair Darling to withdraw a false statement he made on BBC Good Morning Scotland today, when he said it "simply isn't true" that there are billions of pounds left of revenue from North Seal and gas. He said:
"Alex Salmond claimed there was… billions of pounds out there, which simply isn’t true."
The reality is that billions of pounds of North Sea revenues are generated each and every year, and even the UK Government forecasts tax revenues of £33.9 billion just in the years up to 2017/18. A recent Scottish Government analysis based on industry production forecasts estimated a mid-point of £48 billion of tax revenues up to 2017/18.
Mr Darling's false statement this morning would mean that total tax revenues in the decades to come are less than £2 billion!
Previously, Mr Darling said the amount of oil and gas left in the North Sea was only one-twelfth of the 24 billion barrels figure cited by the Scottish Government - suggesting a figure of just 2 billion barrels - even though the UK Government also cite the 24 billion figure, and Mr Darling himself has said there are over 20 billion barrels left.
In today's GMS interview, Mr Darling also referred to "Scottish Office Ministers" instead of the Scottish Government. There is no such thing as the Scottish Office any more, even in the UK Government.
Commenting, SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson who convenes the Finance Committee said:
"Alistair Darling's interview was a catalogue of errors and gaffes, but the most serious is that he denied there are billions of pounds worth of tax revenues left in the North Sea, which is arrant nonsense - even on the UK Government's own forecasts. In the coming six years alone, tens of billions of pounds of tax revenues will be generated from the North Sea, and Scotland's offshore industry will be generating wealth for decades to come.
"The only question is whether the people of Scotland will get the benefit by voting YES, or if the Westminster Treasury continues to grab the money.
"This isn't the first time Mr Darling has got his oil figures hopelessly wrong - he previously suggested there are only 2 billion barrels of oil and gas left, even though the UK Government cite the 24 billion barrels figure, and Mr Darling himself said there are more than 20 billion barrels left.
"Mr Darling will say anything to talk down Scotland's resources and abilities to be an independent country, no matter how absurd and factually incorrect. I am challenging him to accept that he has made basic blunders and withdraw his false statements in the interests of an informed and honest debate."
The Scottish National Party has said Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has questions to answer on Defence assets in Scotland.
Commenting on the UK Government Scotland Analysis paper on Defence in an Independent Scotland, SNP Westminster Leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP said:
“At last the UK Government has been forced to concede that an independent Scotland would inherit a fair share of UK defence assets, though Philip Hammond has many questions to answer as the perpetrator of disproportionate defence cuts and redundancies in Scotland. Scotland stands to inherit billions of pounds worth of assets – after all, the people of Scotland paid for them. He can take this opportunity to explain why his government promised a super barracks at Kirknewton that never happened and why his predecessor said 7,000 troops would be coming back from Germany to Scotland.
“Scotland’s defence and security budget of £2.5 billion will represent an increase of more than £500 million on recent UK levels of defence spending in Scotland, but would be nearly £1 billion less than Scottish taxpayers currently contribute to UK defence spending. It is the MoD that cancelled the annual spending statistics back in 2008, so Mr Hammond won’t even tell the people of Scotland how much is actually spent in the country. How can he be trusted on anything else?
“Westminster cuts have hit Scotland disproportionately hard – Liam Fox, when Defence Secretary, admitted this in his evidence to the Parliament. The UK government has handed out 11,000 p45s to service personnel across the UK and slashed vital capability like maritime patrol aircraft. Service personnel levels in Scotland are at record lows. It is ironic then that Mr Hammond claims there would be problems with recruitment. It is insulting to service personnel in NATO countries of a similar size that somehow Scotland would suffer in this regard.
“With independence, Scotland will have the opportunity to have a defence policy that prioritises our needs, including first class conventional forces. The idea that Scotland would want to replicate what the UK has on a smaller scale is absurd – we obviously don’t want or need Trident. Independence will also allow us to be rid of these weapons of mass destruction which civic leaders, churches, trade unions and a vast majority of Scotland's elected representatives want nothing to do with.”
Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, has joined the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s biggest (and pinkest) fundraiser, Wear It Pink Day.
Over the last 10 years wear it pink has raised a staggering £23 million and on Friday 25 October 2013 people will come together in schools, colleges and businesses across Scotland to raise vital funds for Breast Cancer Campaign’s lifesaving research.
Colin says; “Every year in Scotland around 4,400 people are diagnosed with breast cancer, including around 25 men. Sadly, around 1,000 people die from the disease each year. This is why we need to support Breast Cancer Campaign’s fundraising efforts so they can continue to fund research which will one day lead to a cure. So join me, wear something pink and donate £2, it’s really as simple as that.”
Breast Cancer Campaign vitally needs the money raised from wear it pink for its researchers to have the best possible chance to find the cure.
To register for wear it pink and receive your fundraising pack visit www.wearitpink.org or call 0800 107 3104!