09 Nov News in Scotland Wednesday
Unemployment up and employment up in Scotland while politicians
Scottish News: News in Scotland – Wednesday
Scottish unemployment rises as politicians pronounce ‘recovery’
The number of Scots without a job has increased by 10,000 in Scotland, between May and July, reaching an official total of 203,000 according to newly released economic figures. The number of those in a job however rose by 6,000 over the same period reaching a record high. The figures are contradictory and confusing for various reasons. There have been changes to the way the numbers are calculated. It has been emerging that the number of people on the controversial ‘zero-hours’ contracts runs into millions and may be hugely distorting the the statistics and point to a jobs market being transformed by low wages and the loss of high-value jobs. The trend allows politicians to claim there is an economic recovery whilst more and more ordinary citizens are simultaneously forced into using foodbanks. The SNP’s Jamie Hepburn MSP welcomed the figures saying: “These latest figures show the impact that the Scottish Government’s focus on creating jobs and securing growth and economic recovery is having.”
BP awards £1bn in contracts thanks to Scottish oil boom
BP will give out £1bn in oil-related contracts for projects based west of Shetland, it has been announced. The project relate to the redevelopment of two oil fields – Schiehallon and Loyal – which are estimated to produce 450 million barrels of oil – more than their lifetime total since production began in 1998. The contracts come after a long list of good news for the Scottish oil sector which is experiencing record levels of investment expected to lead to an explosion in demand for skilled workers.
CURRENCY INDEPENDENCE v UNION LATEST
(International news on currency union to inform the Scottish referendum debate)
Spain: Losses converted to ‘assets’ by Spanish banks
Spain’s largest banks such as Santander, BBVA and Banco Sabadell will be allowed to reclassify billions of euros in deferred tax assets as credits. In ordinary language this means that any losses the banks have now and which can be used to lessen future tax payments can be considered an asset. Those ‘assets’ can now be used to show that the banks ratio of assets to money loaned out is within the legal requirement. These minimal requirements are used to create stability within the banking sector. Spain is a member of the euro currency union.
UK crisis: Abolish bedroom tax, warns UN special envoy after Scotland trip
After a trip to Glasgow and Edinburgh a UN special envoy Raquel Rolnik said the policy was causing “great stress and anxiety” to “very vulnerable” people constituting a “basic breach” of the human right to housing. A request by Tory chairman Grant Shapps for Rolnik to apologise was refused by the envoy who argued the tax is “shocking” and called for its abolition.
World’s arms dealers converge on London
The world’s largest arms fair is being held in London’s docklands. The biennial Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) fair promotes the equipment of around 1500 military manufacturers to such nations as Saudi Arabia – Britain’s most profitable military hardware customer – which is ranked 163 out of 167 nations listed in the Economist Democracy Index. The UK’s Defence and Security industry employs circa 400,000 people and exported around £11.5bn in sales in 2012.
Syria: Obama attempts to claw back reputation after “rudderless diplomacy”
After failing to convince the world of the urgent need to bomb Syria, President Obama now claims that he has postponed military action owing to a Russian-sponsored chemical weapons’ disarmament plan. The Russian plan was advanced after Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry – who was on a whistle-stop tour aimed at drumming up support for attacking Syria – ‘rhetorically’ gave Syria a week to give up its chemical weapons stockpile. The invitation was accepted and Obama hailed the potential “breakthrough” while warning that military strikes were still an option. Meanwhile, US republican leaders have warned that Obama’s “Rudderless diplomacy has embarrassed America”. Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus released the following statement following the president’s address to the nation on Syria: “The administration’s handling of the U.S. response to Syria has been so haphazard it’s disappointed even the president’s most ardent supporters,” said Chairman Priebus. “This rudderless diplomacy has embarrassed America on the world stage. For a president who campaigned on building American credibility abroad, the lack of leadership coming from the Oval Office is astounding.”
US income inequality breaks 1927 record
The income gap between the richest 1 percent of US citizens and the remaining 99 percent has widened to a record level, tax filings analysis has shown. The wealthiest 1 percent of Americans now earn 19.3 percent of all household income surpassing the previous record set in 1927. Analysing the filings economist Emmanuel Saez of the University of California found that policies aimed at reducing inequality are insignificant compared to those deployed to deal with the Great Depression.