Agenda – Scottish News Today

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SCOTTISH NEWS TODAY

The main news story in Scotland today, barring unexpected volcanoes, will be the first big debate of the new Parliamentary session.

First Minister Alex Salmond will outline the Government’s plans in his statement on ‘Taking Scotland Forward’ and then the Chamber will no doubt echo to the sound of good old-fashioned political point scoring.

Expect the FM’s speech to mention a new social wage or contract in which public services will not be cut in return for wage restraint.

Minimum alcohol pricing will also be a priority along with the new laws to tackle sectarianism.

Just how far down the schedule will be the referendum? That may well be the major point of interest. We’ll report on proceedings later.

A ceremony will be held later this morning to mark the start of work on the new aircraft carrier Prince of Wales, part of which is being built at BAE Systems’ yard in Govan. UK Defence Secretary is expected to attend.

Perth always calls itself the Fair City, but now the town is out to call itself a ‘real’ city.  Perth and Kinross Provost Dr John Hulbert is in London to deliver the town’s formal application to become Scotland’s seventh official city. Our sources in St John’s Town, as Perth was also known, say the submission is very impressive.

City status will be granted to one town – possibly  more – next year to mark the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen’s ascent to the Throne.

MEDIA DIGEST

Most papers heavily feature the ramifications of the Nat Fraser appeal, a story we brought you last night on Newsnetscotland.com.

The First Minister’s accusation that the Supreme Court’s ruling was a threat to the Scottish criminal justice system has been reported by all the main papers.

Labour’s justice spokeswoman Johann Lamont is quoted in The Herald as saying:  “The independence of the Scottish judiciary is not challenged or threatened in any way whatsoever and it is disappointing this case has been used as an opportunity for yet further constitutional wrangling.” Would Ms Lamont be a Unionist by any chance?

The Scotsman’s main business story tells of a report by Oil and Gas UK, the trade organisation for the industry, claiming that 15,000 jobs and £12 billion worth of investment are at risk from the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s tax raid on North Sea oil producers. The report also states that production of North Sea oil could be shortened by up to five years as a result of the tax hike.

It’s more clear than ever that George Osborne is playing piggy banks with Scotland’s future.