The Week outside Westminster


• The Herald warned of a winter of discontent. It was reported that the Coalition’s welfare reforms will cost Scotland at least £480 million while there was a warning that mass public sector redundancies would be needed if Holyrood kept free personal care and bus travel for the elderly.

• The British Medical Association in Scotland concluded that the NHS would have to make cuts. Nicola Sturgeon admitted that the NHS in Scotland is facing “serious financial challenges” and pledged to “name the price” of a minimum unit of alcohol next month.

• The Scottish Government denied rumours that they are about to privatise Scottish Water.

• The Tory leader at Holyrood, Annabel Goldie, was emerging as a likely casualty of the party’s north of the border review process.

• Former Scottish Lib Dem leader, Lord Wallace warned his party to hold its nerve.

• Labour’s Justice Spokesperson, Richard Baker accused the SNP of being “complacent about tackling violent thugs.”

• Scottish council workers rejected a three-year pay offer.

• The Institute of Economic Affairs called for Scotland to have its own Stock Exchange.

Northern Ireland

• Social Development Minister, Alex Attwood expressed his “deep concerns” over the Coalition’s welfare shake up.

• There were calls for an “efficient, robust and independent” inquiry into the 1971 Ballymurphy killings.

• A study suggested that by 2020, tourism could benefit Northern Ireland’s economy to the tune of £1 billion.

• Dissident republicans were blamed for a car bomb that went off near a police station in Londonderry. SDLP councillor, Mark Durkan dubbed the attack “sinister.” Meanwhile, a solider narrowly escaped harm after a bomb was found on the driveway of his home.

• Unionists were angered following a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport that footballers born in Northern Ireland could play in the Republic.

• There were reports that dissident republicans could be rebranded as “criminals” rather than “terrorists.”

• Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster backed calls for a single unionist party.

• Gerry Adams dubbed his discussions with loyalists over parading as “worthwhile”.

• It was announced that the Health and Education departments would be spared from the £128 million of cuts imposed from Westminster.

• Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson pledged to stick together regardless of dissident republican violence.

• Ian Paisley Jnr called on Northern Ireland to move on from its past.

• It was confirmed that 14 schools in need of urgent repair would be able to start work this financial year.


    • First Minister, Carwyn Jones said of Wales’ lack of primary law making powers, “Why should Peter Robinson, Martin McGuinness and Alex Salmond [respectively First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland and First Minister of Scotland] govern to one set of rules, yet we in Wales have a different set of rules applied?” Meanwhile, Whitehall offered to enable the Assembly Government to allow voters in Wales to veto large increases in council taxes.

    • Welsh Labour MP, Owen Smith gave an in depth critique of the affects of reducing the number of constituencies, concluding “make no bones about it, this is a naked, party political act.”

    • There was a warning that changes to incapacity benefit could see the number out of work in Wales increase by 83%.

    • The NHS in Wales overspent by £50 million in the first three months of this year.  It was reported that translation services at some Welsh councils face the axe as the cuts bite.

    • It was reported that Welsh local authorities are owed £81 million in unpaid council taxes.

    • Former Plaid Heritage minister, Rhodri Glyn Thomas expressed his concerns that his party had lost its way.

      Quote of the Week

      “insane and irrational”

      Northern Ireland Secretary, Own Paterson’s description of those behind this week’s dissident republican activity

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