15/04/2012 Sunday Politics Scotland


15/04/2012

Andrew Neil and Isabel Fraser with the latest political news, interviews and debate.


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Good afternoon. This is the Sunday politics. The Budget that keeps on

:00:41.:00:47.

giving but not in a good way. After granny tax, the charity tax engulfs

:00:47.:00:52.

the Government. How much damage is being done to the Tories' chances

:00:52.:01:00.

in next month's local elections? Grant Shapps joins us for the

:01:00.:01:06.

Sunday interview. We go to Sweden where when it comes

:01:06.:01:12.

to tax, the let it all hang out. Should we follow suit and make tax

:01:12.:01:16.

returns public? The argument for a full financial disclosure gathers

:01:16.:01:23.

pace. And on Sunday Politics Scotland,

:01:23.:01:26.

the finance secretary says charities are going to be hit hard

:01:26.:01:29.

over tax relief on donations. And are bus companies taking us for a

:01:29.:01:30.

ride? Profitable companies, government

:01:30.:01:40.
:01:40.:01:40.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1503 seconds

:01:40.:26:44.

subsidies - set against cuts in If you think everybody's tax

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returns should be public, should it also be public how much everyone

:26:47.:26:54.

receives and benefits? I think it probably should be. There is a

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significant argument for that as well. That would be more difficult

:26:58.:27:06.

to enforce. You would have to get round a large number of different

:27:06.:27:14.

agencies in order to get them published. It is very un-English.

:27:14.:27:19.

We are very private about her money in this country. You mean it is not

:27:19.:27:27.

an Scottish a run Welsh? I think it is something we regard as being a

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very private matter and a culture is completely antithetical. This

:27:33.:27:39.

leads a fairly private as well but, despite all their suggestions of

:27:39.:27:46.

public nudity there. I think that they are not as envious as we

:27:46.:27:53.

imagine we are. Our real problem is not about privacy but of those

:27:53.:27:57.

who'd do it well being worried about becoming the envious targets

:27:57.:28:03.

of our neighbours. There was a time not that long ago, less than 15

:28:03.:28:07.

years ago, when a lot of politicians said where we get the

:28:07.:28:16.

money from as a political party should be up private matter. No one

:28:16.:28:20.

believes in that argument now and are you not fighting the tide here,

:28:20.:28:23.

that in the future we should see their tax returns of a

:28:23.:28:28.

politician's? It may well be that the argument I am making it is

:28:28.:28:33.

going to lose because the MoD is demanding more and more. This is

:28:33.:28:39.

mob rule, demanding to know every detail about the leaders. We have

:28:39.:28:43.

got a dearth of talent in British politics in terms of their

:28:43.:28:48.

experience of life. I would like to see better people and politics and

:28:48.:28:54.

the less intrusion we have... say it is part of being a citizen

:28:54.:29:04.
:29:04.:29:05.

of this country. If I maintain that I am resident and domiciled in

:29:05.:29:09.

Britain and some as a tax return every year, why is that not enough?

:29:09.:29:14.

Let's take the case that this has emerged from. Ken Livingstone had a

:29:14.:29:19.

blast it people who he says are not paying as much tax as they should.

:29:19.:29:23.

It is then discovered that he himself is doing it. People's

:29:24.:29:29.

reaction to this is not daft about hypocrisy but about whether or not

:29:29.:29:33.

you pay your dues and a way that I understand you are fulfilling your

:29:33.:29:38.

duties as a citizen. It is applicable to everybody. 58% of

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people in a recent poll said that tax returns should be made public.

:29:45.:29:49.

Is it true these rumours we're reading that some Conservative MPs

:29:49.:29:56.

are in discussion with UKIP? Over the last year the chief whip of the

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House of Lords has joined UKIP and if the party continues to grow and

:30:00.:30:05.

looks to be becoming a good bet, more will join. Are you having

:30:05.:30:09.

discussions? In politics, you have discussions with people all the

:30:09.:30:15.

time. I think that's I yes. Can you give us the names of the Tory MPs?

:30:15.:30:25.
:30:25.:30:25.

Not yet. It is approaching 12:30pm. Good afternoon and welcome to

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Sunday Politics Scotland. Coming up on the programme. We are on the

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buses as a funding row cuts services, increases fares and puts

:30:31.:30:36.

concessionary travel in the spotlight. Unless Westminster does

:30:36.:30:38.

a handbrake turn on capping charity donations how will Scottish

:30:39.:30:45.

projects be affected? Is there a shift in the SNP stance - no to

:30:45.:30:50.

Nuclear but is it still a no to NATO? On the super-sensitive

:30:50.:30:53.

territory of same sex marriage, we are just weeks away from a Scottish

:30:53.:31:03.
:31:03.:31:04.

Our bus services seem to be heading down a difficult road - cuts in

:31:04.:31:07.

routes, hikes in fares and threats of job losses. The bus companies

:31:07.:31:10.

insist subsidy cuts are driving them into a corner but the

:31:10.:31:13.

government isn't buying that. So if you're getting on board, what can

:31:13.:31:23.

you expect as a passenger? Kevin Keane reports.

:31:23.:31:28.

Travelling by bus in Scotland has never been more expensive. Here in

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Aberdeen, both the major bus companies have recently seen the

:31:31.:31:37.

affairs arise. The biggest operator saw them increase in January by up

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to 13 1/2 per cent. The other big operators here, Stagecoach,

:31:44.:31:52.

increase fares by a 7.7 per cent. Fares are rising across Scotland.

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Stagecoach shares in Aberdeen have increased by nearly 10%. If you're

:32:00.:32:07.

travelling in Glasgow, and you will have seen Europe price rise by 27%.

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Operators say they are being hit hard. Private companies need profit

:32:12.:32:19.

and if overheads rise, fares rise. People are being hit by a Perfect

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Storm at the moment. There seemed a drop in passenger numbers and a

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rise in fuel prices and the companies are responding to that by

:32:27.:32:31.

trying to keep their profitability levels by increasing fares and

:32:31.:32:37.

often cutting routes. One of the biggest hits has been in the amount

:32:37.:32:41.

they are paid to operate services. The government's total subsidy to

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bus companies last year was more than a quarter of a billion pounds.

:32:45.:32:51.

A large chunk of that was through concessionary travel. 66.5 million

:32:51.:32:54.

came through the bus service operators grand, and that has been

:32:54.:33:04.
:33:04.:33:06.

cut by 17%. -- grant. It is ultimately the passengers who pay

:33:06.:33:10.

and their feeling the effects and Aberdeen. It is expensive for me

:33:10.:33:20.
:33:20.:33:22.

every day. It used to be �45 for me and now it is �50. I AM a pensioner

:33:22.:33:31.

and we don't pay. I think it is terrible for families. Cracking the

:33:31.:33:34.

public transport map has proven difficult for success of Gullit.

:33:34.:33:38.

Two of the biggest operators each make profits of �250 million for a

:33:38.:33:47.

bus services. A cut in government subsidy is unlikely to put them in

:33:47.:33:53.

the red. There is then a more radical approach. Whatever party is

:33:53.:33:59.

the principal opposition calls for regulation. The party and

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government says they want. That will not change until passengers a

:34:02.:34:07.

more powerful and speaking with a stronger voice. Motorists are well

:34:07.:34:10.

represented in the political system and bus passengers are largely

:34:10.:34:14.

ignored. With me in the studio are three

:34:14.:34:17.

MSPs - we have Alex Neil the Minister for Capital Investment &

:34:17.:34:19.

Infrastructure, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie

:34:19.:34:24.

Rennie, and for Labour, their transport spokesman, Richard Baker.

:34:24.:34:30.

Thank you all for coming in. Alex Neil, if we start with the it cut

:34:30.:34:36.

in subsidy to bus operators, why are you doing that? Over the last

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two years, we have seen a 43% increase in fuel costs and we are

:34:42.:34:45.

reforming the whole system to encourage bus operators to be more

:34:45.:34:50.

fuel-efficient. We're trying to make the system fairer. Many rural

:34:50.:34:55.

communities were not getting a fair chunk of the subsidy before so we

:34:55.:34:58.

have rearranged and reformed the subsidy and such a way that it

:34:58.:35:02.

tells rural communities. If you look at the total picture including

:35:02.:35:06.

concessionary fares, we have tried to make it fairer by extending

:35:06.:35:11.

concessionary fares to disabled veterans and their dial-up bus

:35:11.:35:18.

service. The bus operators are arguing that you are now basing

:35:18.:35:23.

your subsidy not on fuel costs but a mileage at which is a

:35:23.:35:28.

disadvantage to them, and they are getting 20% less. Given that you

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have said you have done all of this to improve the service, can you

:35:31.:35:36.

really justify these cuts? They're not getting 20% less because

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looking at the totality of what we are spending, we announced a �6

:35:43.:35:47.

million Green Bus Fund. We have announced a transition from the

:35:47.:35:53.

subsidy that wars and the subsidy as reformed. Why are they are

:35:53.:35:57.

laying off people and say they cannot maintain the services?

:35:57.:36:01.

is only one group that has a significant redundancy level and

:36:01.:36:09.

that is the First Bus Group. For a start, First has made it clear to

:36:09.:36:16.

me that there cut in the bus services grant was a key issue.

:36:16.:36:26.
:36:26.:36:26.

This cut in grant has resulted in these fare increases. This decision

:36:26.:36:30.

for a while lies with Alex Neil. He has made a decision which is

:36:30.:36:33.

directly meant affairs going up for those who can afford these

:36:33.:36:39.

increases least. People who use buses do not have cars and July and

:36:39.:36:47.

the services to get to work, often on lower incomes. Looking at the

:36:47.:36:50.

First group operating profits for the year ending March this year,

:36:50.:36:57.

pre-tax profits of �456 million. Those a sizable profits butter lot

:36:57.:37:02.

of that will be from the ScotRail franchise. Buses tend to work on

:37:02.:37:07.

tighter margins. I would like to see greater regulation of the bus

:37:07.:37:12.

industries. Alex Neil opposed is greater accountability between bus

:37:12.:37:17.

companies and the passengers they serve. Passengers have a reasonable

:37:17.:37:21.

point because services cannot be run on the same level at the same

:37:21.:37:25.

fares if they are facing a 20 per as it cut in the fuel rebate they

:37:25.:37:28.

get from the government, which has been a long-standing subsidy for

:37:28.:37:33.

the industry from the government. That is what is really hurting

:37:33.:37:43.
:37:43.:37:43.

passengers hard. This is that -- is a decision made by AlexThe SNP.

:37:43.:37:46.

they have misjudged the situation. They were advised by the bus

:37:46.:37:52.

companies that there would be fare rises and service cuts. Three

:37:52.:37:57.

months ago, they decided to charge ahead regardless of that warning

:37:57.:38:04.

forced up they have missed that that situation badly. We need a

:38:04.:38:09.

solution to this problem. It is chaos out there and services have

:38:09.:38:14.

been slashed. Bus users are furious about this. Where will the funding

:38:14.:38:18.

come from? Extra money has been received by the coalition

:38:18.:38:23.

government in Westminster, about �9 million this year and �7 million

:38:23.:38:27.

next year. That would goal long way to deal with the problems Alex Neil

:38:27.:38:36.

has created. If we're going to meet Climate Change targets and reverse

:38:36.:38:42.

the decline in bus usage, this money has to go back in. Would you

:38:42.:38:47.

be looking at changing concessionary fare rules?

:38:47.:38:50.

recommended that at a last election because finances are tight and

:38:50.:38:53.

there are a lot of working people in the Sixties were getting free

:38:53.:38:58.

bus travel have to work. We reckon we should look at the 60-65 year

:38:58.:39:04.

olds and see whether they should continue to get that. You would

:39:04.:39:08.

maintain it for veterans and disabled people? Those changes

:39:08.:39:16.

introduced a good steps. His policy is to rob the pensioners of the

:39:16.:39:22.

concessionary fare. We will not do that. We will look after pensioners

:39:22.:39:24.

and make sure that the concessionary fare goes to those in

:39:24.:39:32.

need, rather than unnecessarily subsidise companies also up if I

:39:32.:39:36.

may say so, none of them have said what they would cut to pay for the

:39:36.:39:45.

increased subsidy to the bus operators. I have, Alex. Any time

:39:45.:39:49.

you mention consequential, they talk about more money for colleges,

:39:50.:39:55.

schools, universities, but they never tell us how they will do that.

:39:55.:39:58.

Can I just allow you to come back on that but establish that what

:39:59.:40:01.

you're saying is that the bus companies can afford to absorb

:40:01.:40:09.

this? They're not have there been a great deal. But they can afford it?

:40:09.:40:12.

75% of the bus companies will actually be better offer have

:40:12.:40:18.

exactly the same subsidies as before. Other bus companies

:40:18.:40:23.

profiteering? I am not saying profiteering but if you take the

:40:23.:40:28.

three big bus companies of Scotland, they're taking profits of between

:40:29.:40:36.

350 in �400 million a year. We are quite keen to make sure that we use

:40:36.:40:41.

our money to send advise them to do two things. To incentive buys them

:40:41.:40:47.

to use their fuel more efficiently because feel is going up. Willie

:40:47.:40:57.
:40:57.:41:03.

Rennie's government is pitting feel up again on that 1st August. --

:41:03.:41:12.

oputting fuek up. Looking at the total picture, in the old system,

:41:12.:41:18.

the encouragement was to have a feel any fish and buses. We are

:41:18.:41:22.

making it fair for or rural areas. You're saying no price hikes are no

:41:22.:41:26.

job cuts? To get this in perspective, last year, bus fares

:41:26.:41:32.

and Scotland rose by 2.1 per cent compared to 4.8 per cent south of

:41:32.:41:38.

the border. They have slashed the subsidy says the border far more

:41:38.:41:43.

than any company will suffer in terms of the Cup in Scotland.

:41:43.:41:47.

south, the consultation with the bus companies was extensive, over

:41:47.:41:53.

18 months. We do not have the chaos you have created a peer. Services

:41:53.:41:59.

have been slashed and fares have risen. What sort of regulation

:41:59.:42:03.

would have a practical impact on that? Presumably, so much and this

:42:03.:42:06.

will be determined by what the bus companies decide is a profitable

:42:06.:42:12.

margin. We want to see quality partnerships and Quality Contracts,

:42:12.:42:15.

which have started up but there is far too few of them as Scotland was

:42:15.:42:22.

up that would provide greater accountability in Scotland. In

:42:22.:42:26.

terms of that the credibility, that will be important, but sticking to

:42:26.:42:30.

the issue affairs, which is what we're talking about today, at the

:42:30.:42:34.

end of the day it comes down to funding. People who are paying

:42:34.:42:38.

through the nose today will not be impressed by this charade of the

:42:38.:42:42.

shoulder of response from Alex Neil. It is his decision to cut that

:42:42.:42:47.

important fuel rebate which has resulted in the pay increases. At

:42:47.:42:57.
:42:57.:42:57.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1503 seconds

:42:57.:44:03.

this moment in time, that is the Can I just ask a question to

:44:03.:44:11.

clarify...? If you are coming into this argument and we have known the

:44:11.:44:15.

numbers for some time, with the argument had been more plausible

:44:15.:44:18.

and coherent if he could specifically identify where you

:44:18.:44:23.

would say that money. If there is chaos out there and people are

:44:23.:44:26.

genuinely concerned, why be not have a detailed idea where you

:44:26.:44:36.
:44:36.:44:40.

would say that money? He is right to identify the fact their

:44:40.:44:43.

consequential. You would not recommend looking at concessionary

:44:43.:44:53.
:44:53.:44:54.

fares? We went into the election pledging to retain this. We have

:44:54.:45:03.

actually extended the concessionary... Willie Rennie, is

:45:03.:45:06.

it right to extend this at a time when other communities could be

:45:06.:45:11.

affected by this, as we have heard from people on the buses? It was

:45:11.:45:14.

right to extend it but Alex Neil should have manage the situation

:45:14.:45:22.

better. Richard Baker can tell us how we would fund these additional

:45:22.:45:30.

subsidies for bus companies. there anywhere told... We are

:45:30.:45:34.

almost out of time and we're covered all this ground. Will you

:45:34.:45:39.

look at this again? Is there any way you will sit back and say we

:45:39.:45:45.

did not expect... There are constant discussions with the bus

:45:45.:45:50.

operators and we have agreed a way forward including bus partnerships

:45:51.:45:57.

and on the Budget. The reality is we have agreement because they know

:45:57.:46:02.

what we're doing is sensible and we can pay for it. There being totally

:46:02.:46:05.

dishonest and their policy is to rob the pensioner to pay their

:46:05.:46:10.

company more profits. We're out of time.

:46:10.:46:13.

Pressure is mounting on the Westminster government to change

:46:13.:46:15.

its controversial plan to cap charity donations. The chancellor

:46:15.:46:18.

said he was astonished to find unlimited donations could be used

:46:18.:46:22.

for tax dodging. So as George Osbourne insults genuine

:46:22.:46:25.

philanthropists and alarms the rest of us with his seeming lack of

:46:25.:46:27.

prior knowledge about tax avoidance scams - the finance secretary John

:46:28.:46:37.

Swinney is among those today telling him to rethink.

:46:37.:46:43.

The Chancellor's well-understood attempts to clamp down on tax

:46:43.:46:46.

avoidance have actually had the perverse effect of creating a

:46:46.:46:51.

disincentive around people donating to charity. Charitable giving is up

:46:51.:46:54.

very important part of strengthening long-term investment

:46:54.:46:57.

in good causes in Scotland. Joining us now from Edinburgh is Dr

:46:57.:47:00.

Alison Elliot - the convenor of the Scottish Council for Voluntary

:47:00.:47:08.

Organisations. Thank you for coming What you think could be the effect

:47:08.:47:11.

in Scotland in particular? Do we have a lot of large donors and

:47:12.:47:16.

Scotland? Not as many as down south but there are some considerable

:47:17.:47:25.

once here. Not only in terms of large donations that we hear about,

:47:25.:47:35.
:47:35.:47:35.

but also the various charitable trusts which make a wide range of

:47:35.:47:37.

charitable nations to Scotland including small donations to small

:47:37.:47:43.

charities. Some are putting money into core funding which is

:47:43.:47:48.

particularly important in terms of sustaining services, as opposed the

:47:48.:47:56.

project funding. Charitable trusts are likely, more likely to give

:47:56.:48:04.

money to keep charities moving and keep them going. I think that it is

:48:05.:48:13.

very important for the charities of Scotland that these high net worth

:48:13.:48:16.

individuals are taken seriously. Why do you think the government

:48:16.:48:23.

came up with this? I do not know. I cannot believe that we spend a lot

:48:23.:48:32.

of time thinking about it. I think they are concerned to come down on

:48:32.:48:36.

tax avoidance, which no one would deny it is an important thing to do,

:48:36.:48:41.

then there are other ways of doing it. I think it is a lazy policy and

:48:41.:48:46.

just the way of trying to catch a whole lot of people in the next and

:48:46.:48:51.

it should be designed more work precisely for a few individuals.

:48:51.:48:58.

What sort of image does it get out or create in the public mind?

:48:58.:49:03.

think it is very detrimental. We can speculate about how much money

:49:03.:49:08.

Mater may not be lost through this scheme. What we do not is the

:49:08.:49:12.

message step has been given it is the idea that giving to charity is

:49:12.:49:17.

avoiding tax. I know from trying to persuade people that it is often

:49:17.:49:23.

quite difficult to persuade them that gift Aid as an OK thing to do.

:49:23.:49:28.

The already see that as cheating tax. If the Government essaying

:49:28.:49:32.

that giving to charity is part of avoiding paying taxes, then it is

:49:32.:49:36.

going to have a knock-on effect on people who are giving modest

:49:36.:49:45.

donations regularly to small charities. Tax relief would almost

:49:45.:49:49.

suggest that the state recognises the role of voluntary sector and

:49:49.:49:56.

charities and providing essential services. There seems to be a a

:49:56.:50:01.

problem and thinking there? I have always been fascinated with the

:50:01.:50:07.

principles that underline Get paid. What the government is saying that

:50:07.:50:12.

giving money to charity is not the same are spending it elsewhere. In

:50:12.:50:20.

some way, it is helping the state do its job. That is thinking that

:50:20.:50:24.

is becoming mainline that in policy thinking in terms of the Scottish

:50:24.:50:28.

government and also down south. I was on the Christie Commission

:50:28.:50:33.

which were looking at the a former public services. One of the things

:50:33.:50:37.

that was fundamental there was understanding that we have to

:50:37.:50:41.

reduce the demand on public services. Public services cannot

:50:41.:50:45.

cope with the current level of demand. One of the ways you reduce

:50:45.:50:49.

demand is by keeping people out of hospital and out of prison and

:50:50.:50:52.

keeping communities strong and vibrant and interesting places to

:50:52.:51:00.

be. The sector generally acknowledged as doing that very

:51:00.:51:08.

well is the voluntary sector. This is an essential part of Scotland

:51:08.:51:12.

being able to provide the public services which a dignified and

:51:12.:51:16.

deserving of this country. A thank you for that.

:51:16.:51:19.

The BBC has learned that the SNP leadership is considering proposing

:51:19.:51:22.

a change to the party's policy on NATO at the next meeting of their

:51:22.:51:26.

National Council in June. But with many in the SNP still wedded to the

:51:26.:51:29.

goal of a nuclear-free Scotland outside the alliance, do they have

:51:29.:51:39.
:51:39.:51:39.

a fight on their hands? Niall O'Gallagher reports.

:51:39.:51:45.

Withdrawal from NATO has been the SNP position for more than 30 years.

:51:45.:51:48.

Sources have told us that the party leadership is considering a change

:51:48.:51:52.

in policy with a move due in a matter of weeks. The next meeting

:51:52.:51:58.

of the party's national council in June is expected to discuss whether

:51:58.:52:02.

Scotland could stay in NATO while keeping the SNP commitment to get

:52:02.:52:09.

rid of nuclear weapons. Recent academic research has suggested

:52:09.:52:18.

such a proposal could get a welcome from the party membership. The

:52:18.:52:23.

strength of feeling on this is not great. Very few of the SNP's

:52:23.:52:28.

members see this as a matter of greater urgency a great importance.

:52:28.:52:32.

For some in the party, opposition to NATO membership is a defining

:52:32.:52:37.

issue. In a motion to mark the anniversary of the alliance,

:52:37.:52:41.

nationalist MP Jamie Hepburn said that NATO was to destabilise the

:52:41.:52:46.

scene -- destabilising factor in the West's relationship with Europe

:52:46.:52:51.

-- Russia and it serves no useful purpose in the modern world.

:52:51.:52:56.

Of those that supported the motion, two are ministers in the current

:52:56.:53:03.

Scottish government. The SNP is changing. An increase in members

:53:03.:53:08.

since the last election victory suggests the balance is shifting.

:53:08.:53:16.

The SNP promised Stirling Council that... Anti-nuclear campaigners

:53:16.:53:21.

have called on those proposing the change to step back from the brink

:53:21.:53:28.

and continuing the current policy They have built up an honourable

:53:28.:53:34.

position against nuclear weapons. That is because they are weapons of

:53:34.:53:40.

indiscriminate mass annihilation. If they go and change their policy

:53:40.:53:47.

which is a relic of the Cold War, the central plank is nuclear policy,

:53:47.:53:52.

they seriously undermine their position. Abandoning plans to leave

:53:52.:53:57.

NATO could make it easier for the SNP to persuade those concerned

:53:57.:54:04.

about defence to vote for independence. Scotland have voted

:54:04.:54:10.

Aith MP and devoted in big numbers. It did so it because it wanted to

:54:10.:54:16.

be left of centre. -- SMP. It was not interested in the London wars.

:54:16.:54:21.

There has been an enormous amount of goodwill from people on the left

:54:21.:54:27.

of the SNP. We are now seeing what is happening here. Tomorrow, the UK

:54:27.:54:32.

will conduct an exercise with NATO allies on the Clyde. With a

:54:32.:54:37.

Scottish forces will continue to take part is an issue. The result

:54:37.:54:41.

of that debate could be an important factor in deciding

:54:41.:54:46.

whether Scots vote to pursue a foreign defence policy in the years

:54:46.:54:51.

to come. With me, the former SNP special

:54:51.:55:01.
:55:01.:55:02.

adviser. Thank you for coming in. If we except that the idea they are

:55:02.:55:05.

considering putting to the membership of the SNP should stay

:55:05.:55:11.

in NATO and get rid of nuclear weapons, would staying in NATO be

:55:11.:55:21.

something acceptable to the majority of SNP members?

:55:21.:55:28.

referred to to the surprise of some people that there was a concern you

:55:28.:55:32.

needed to say certain things and keep the membership happy. Were the

:55:32.:55:38.

membership is more pragmatic than sometimes people in the leadership

:55:38.:55:41.

think. The membership is not pragmatic about nuclear weapons,

:55:41.:55:46.

though. There is no doubt in my mind, the SNP, even though this is

:55:46.:55:52.

the discussion, there is no doubt in my mind if this compromised the

:55:52.:55:58.

SNP's Anglia -- anti-nuclear stand, it would not be countenanced. As

:55:58.:56:02.

well as them being hostile to nuclear weapons, it wants to be

:56:02.:56:06.

international. They wants to join things. If they can join

:56:06.:56:11.

international community's, if they can engage in international

:56:11.:56:17.

corporation without doing anything to overturn the SMP's anti-nuclear

:56:17.:56:21.

stance, they will consider that. There will be an argument it was

:56:21.:56:27.

the fact they were unequivocal on nuclear, they said no to nuclear

:56:27.:56:32.

weapons on Scottish soil and said no to supporting native. That to go

:56:32.:56:38.

votes from the left. They could lose a those votes. The anti-

:56:38.:56:43.

nuclear stance is part of their DNA. If there was any suggestion from

:56:43.:56:53.
:56:53.:56:53.

the newest member to Alex Salmond, there is no clear position on that.

:56:53.:56:56.

What you're saying is the research suggests for most members, the

:56:56.:57:05.

distinction is not NATO, it is about nuclear. We do not have a

:57:05.:57:09.

huge amount of time. I am sorry. We are talking about why the

:57:09.:57:13.

leadership would be interested in doing that. May they see themselves

:57:13.:57:19.

as vulnerable on defence? If they say, we will stay in NATO, that

:57:19.:57:24.

would be attractive to a wide audience. I think the point about

:57:24.:57:30.

defence is, you say do the if MP feel vulnerable. That is a pretty

:57:30.:57:40.
:57:40.:57:41.

ropey attack. -- best MP. They cannot have an independent defence

:57:41.:57:46.

policy. The main fizzing is, in terms of their stance, they want to

:57:46.:57:52.

operate, they are keen on EU membership. -- will operate. They

:57:52.:57:58.

are going to investigate that. People are talking about the left.

:57:58.:58:03.

Norway is the country that is held up as part of the social democratic

:58:03.:58:10.

aspiration the Scotland should be looking at. They are in NATO. There

:58:10.:58:13.

is nothing to say because you worry left-wing government, you cannot be

:58:14.:58:19.

in NATO. That will form part of the discussions going on at the moment.

:58:19.:58:26.

If you inherit treaty obligations post independence, could use not

:58:27.:58:36.
:58:37.:58:37.

saying they do? -- could you not stay. In NATO. Everyone is

:58:37.:58:44.

concerned about the and D nuclear stance. Thank you. A group of

:58:44.:58:47.

Catholic laymen are the latest to join the debate about legislating

:58:47.:58:52.

for same-sex marriage in church. They gave the Deputy First Minister

:58:52.:58:57.

a petition opposing the proposal. More than 50,000 responses to the

:58:57.:59:04.

Scottish government's consultation huh being considered.

:59:04.:59:08.

Yesterday, these representatives were the latest to get involved in

:59:08.:59:12.

this debate. They handed over a petition of around 1,000 signatures

:59:12.:59:19.

to their local MSP who also speaks for the Cabinet on this issue. They

:59:19.:59:24.

say they gather the signatures from five Catholic churches. We do not

:59:24.:59:31.

see any reason for a change in the law. Marriage, the sanctity of

:59:31.:59:36.

marriage, it is one of the fantasies of the Catholic Church.

:59:36.:59:44.

The Catholic Church and the Muslim church -- Muslim community are key

:59:44.:59:48.

voices. If they oppose the redefinition of marriage. Some say

:59:48.:59:53.

yes to the proposal. At the moment, say that sex couples have the same

:59:53.:59:57.

legal rights. The new law would allow them to get married in a

:59:57.:00:00.

judge or a religious premises. Initially, ministers wanted to

:00:00.:00:05.

support the changes. There consultation lasted 14 weeks and

:00:05.:00:10.

the received over 50,000 responses. It is the third largest response

:00:10.:00:13.

they have ever had to a consultation. No decisions have

:00:13.:00:17.

been taking, decisions will be taken in due course. As the

:00:17.:00:21.

Government has always made clear, if the decision is to legislate for

:00:21.:00:25.

same-sex marriage, there will be protections to ensure no religious

:00:26.:00:30.

group is compelled to take same-sex marriages. At Westminster, the

:00:30.:00:37.

Government wants to introduced gay marriage by a 2015. The change in

:00:37.:00:40.

the law would allow civil partnerships to be recognised as

:00:40.:00:44.

marriage. The Scottish government is expected to publish the results

:00:44.:00:48.

and make a decision on whether to take forward legislation in the

:00:48.:00:54.

coming weeks. We are joined by someone from the Catholic Church.

:00:54.:00:58.

We also as someone from the Church of Scotland. Thank you for coming.

:00:59.:01:04.

If this legislation goes through, how will that affect the sort of

:01:04.:01:08.

relationships you want your church to have with the Scottish

:01:08.:01:13.

government? I think it would be a damaging move. A effects not just

:01:13.:01:19.

Catholic and church services, it would affect society. It would

:01:19.:01:25.

impact in education and jobs. At this stage, we want to raise it as

:01:26.:01:30.

a political issue. It is because politicians really are eroding the

:01:30.:01:34.

people's basic freedoms and undermining the basic understanding

:01:34.:01:41.

of family life. When you hear that, as a Christian, who has opposing

:01:41.:01:46.

views to that, how do you think this can be resolved? Is there any

:01:46.:01:53.

way this can make people satisfied? What is there to resolve? Gay

:01:53.:01:59.

couples want to marry. No problem. There are clergy who would love to

:01:59.:02:08.

be able to do those marriages and we need a change in the civil law

:02:08.:02:14.

to make it OK for gay couples to marry, whereas in the UK, they can

:02:14.:02:20.

enter into civil partnerships. What is important to understand is no

:02:20.:02:25.

minister of any stripe is going to be forced to conduct same-sex

:02:25.:02:30.

marriages, just like no minister of any stripe currently is forced to

:02:30.:02:35.

conduct any marriage. Let us address that. Let us talk about

:02:36.:02:40.

laws and human rights. There is no compulsion on you to conduct this.

:02:40.:02:44.

Equally, there are practising Christians who are gay who would

:02:44.:02:48.

like to marry in church. You are denying them that right. There is

:02:48.:02:52.

no compulsion on you to do something but you are denying

:02:52.:02:55.

someone else something. It is a misunderstanding entirely. People

:02:55.:03:00.

are free to live their lives they want. If they want to have services,

:03:00.:03:05.

you can do what you want in your church. What you want to do is

:03:05.:03:08.

change the understanding of marriage for society. That has a

:03:08.:03:13.

huge impact. We recognise the role of a mother and father in the role

:03:13.:03:18.

of a child is crucial. This would change the law so you are not

:03:18.:03:22.

allowed to say a mother and father is the basis of family life. That

:03:22.:03:26.

is a huge change. A is an imposition on the rest of society.

:03:26.:03:32.

You're asking society to change logic. It is not about equality.

:03:32.:03:38.

This is about things that are different. Is it acceptable to say,

:03:38.:03:44.

there is a body of Catholic Church teaching of his marriage as to be

:03:44.:03:48.

about a man and woman but other churches have other opinions? Wiser

:03:48.:03:58.
:03:58.:03:58.

not to legislate in that regard and allow this? -- why is it not.

:03:58.:04:03.

clear, I am a Presbyterian minister from America who works in this --

:04:03.:04:12.

who works in the Church of Scotland. What the Scottish legislation

:04:12.:04:20.

proposes is the freedom for same- sex couples to marry, which brings

:04:20.:04:28.

with it many legal responsibilities and commitments. They do have, the

:04:28.:04:31.

rights same sex couples have, in the terms of civil partnerships,

:04:31.:04:40.

they are the same. To give you an example, friends of mine, who, in

:04:41.:04:46.

America, had a civil partnership, they were married in a church, they

:04:46.:04:50.

did not expect it to make a big difference. And they were

:04:50.:04:55.

overwhelmed with the difference it made him their relationship which

:04:55.:04:59.

was a 20 year relationship at a point. To finally have a marriage

:05:00.:05:06.

within a church conducted by a minister made a huge difference to

:05:06.:05:12.

them. I am here to voice support for them. We do not have a huge

:05:12.:05:17.

amount of time. Can I just ask you in terms of how the Catholic Church

:05:17.:05:21.

has handled the interaction with the government, and we have had

:05:21.:05:25.

people saying, if this is allowed, it would be a grotesque subversion

:05:25.:05:31.

of Human Rights. Do you have concerns the tone has been such

:05:31.:05:35.

that you have backed the Government into a corner and they cannot

:05:35.:05:40.

afford to say they have been browbeaten by the Catholic Church?

:05:40.:05:46.

The tone has been strong. It is a robust debate. The language used by

:05:46.:05:55.

those who label people like I might myself a -- like myself as begets,

:05:55.:05:59.

human rights legislation recognise that marriage is a relationship

:06:00.:06:04.

between men and women. There is an importance to children. That is a

:06:05.:06:09.

unique relationship. Other relationships do not fulfil a role.

:06:09.:06:19.
:06:19.:06:23.

They are not of the same interest to society. But human rights

:06:23.:06:27.

societies say it is about compromise to give concessions. Do

:06:27.:06:32.

you regret the tone that have emerged here? Do you think the tone

:06:32.:06:38.

has been damaging? What you make of the tone? I think people using

:06:38.:06:44.

their common sense can see through rhetoric. We already disagree about

:06:44.:06:52.

marriage. Some people consider it the sacrament. Some do not. Some

:06:52.:06:55.

principalities and America are, they on her common-law marriages

:06:55.:07:05.
:07:05.:07:06.

and some do not. -- they on her. There is... We have heard the

:07:06.:07:11.

expression marriages of convenience. Those are accepted with

:07:11.:07:17.

heterosexual couples who and traditionally, marriages were about

:07:17.:07:22.

property and then about raising children. Now it is reversed.

:07:22.:07:27.

People get married for romantic reasons with, or without, children.

:07:27.:07:36.

And they end up in divorce. We do not have a uniform understanding of

:07:36.:07:42.

marriage, anyway. We are out of time. If the legislation does go

:07:42.:07:47.

ahead, what will the response be from the Catholic Church?

:07:47.:07:51.

principle is did today people. The more people look at this issue,

:07:51.:07:56.

they see the repercussions. They see this is a tyranny of a quality.

:07:56.:08:00.

You're forced to accept the morality of other people. --

:08:00.:08:10.
:08:10.:08:11.

quality. This will be a huge change Scotland's finance secretary is

:08:11.:08:13.

warning that controversial plans to cap tax relief for charitable

:08:13.:08:16.

donations will damage the voluntary sector. The Chancellor George

:08:16.:08:20.

Osborne is coming under mounting pressure to rethink his decision.

:08:20.:08:29.

John Swinney has written to him to outline his concerns. This can

:08:29.:08:32.

create a perception that charitable giving is not well, that would be

:08:32.:08:39.

disastrous. There are hundreds of thousands of people across the

:08:39.:08:42.

country he give to charities and we should not put any obstacles are

:08:42.:08:46.

barriers in their way, or create an atmosphere which suggests that

:08:46.:08:56.
:08:56.:08:56.

charitable giving is not. number of people on the NHS Organ

:08:56.:08:59.

Donor Register in Scotland has reached a record high of more than

:08:59.:09:01.

two million. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has welcomed the

:09:01.:09:05.

rise in potential donors, but says more must be done. Across the UK,

:09:05.:09:08.

three people still die every day because they don't get the organ

:09:08.:09:10.

they need in time. Around 5,000 runners from 30

:09:10.:09:13.

different countries have taken part in the first Rock n Roll half

:09:13.:09:16.

marathon to be held in the UK. Edinburgh is hosting today's event

:09:16.:09:19.

which aims to create a festival atmosphere in the city. More than

:09:19.:09:22.

20 bands played to the runners along the 13 mile route, which

:09:22.:09:23.

started and finished in Holyrood Park.

:09:23.:09:26.

The second Scottish Cup semi-final between Celtic and Hearts kicked

:09:26.:09:36.
:09:36.:09:43.

off at Hampden Stadium a short time Showers across the north and north-

:09:43.:09:51.

east. They will be wintery of a higher ground. Generally dry and

:09:51.:09:57.

bright with highs of 10 Celsius. A little cooler in the north-east.

:09:57.:10:01.

This evening and overnight, showers die away and will be cold and

:10:01.:10:10.

frosty. That is the forecast for Our next bulletin is at 6:50pm.

:10:10.:10:13.

Now in a moment, we'll be discussing the big events coming up

:10:13.:10:17.

this week at Holyrood, but first, let's take a look back at the Week

:10:17.:10:27.
:10:27.:10:31.

Cameras will be allowed into court when David Gilroy is sentenced for

:10:31.:10:37.

the murder. This is the first time permission has been granted to from

:10:37.:10:43.

a sentencing at a High Court. Phil Walker, an SNP MSP expelled

:10:43.:10:49.

from the party following domestic abuse allegations is staying on as

:10:49.:10:55.

an independent nationalist MSPs. Tests carried out on fish caught

:10:55.:11:00.

close to a gas leak at an Elgin oil platform has found they are not

:11:00.:11:06.

contaminated. The environmental impact appears to be minimal.

:11:06.:11:12.

evidence of any contamination a tainted hydrocarbons in any fish.

:11:12.:11:16.

250 samples were taken so we are reassured. The first extensive

:11:16.:11:19.

research on a new Schools Curriculum has suggested many

:11:19.:11:23.

teachers were anxious about its implementation but the Scottish

:11:23.:11:27.

government has said a great strides had been taken according to

:11:27.:11:31.

information taken over the last school year. Next week, politicians

:11:31.:11:34.

both North and South of the border will be returning to parliamentary

:11:34.:11:44.
:11:44.:11:45.

With me are two seasoned political observers, Iain Macwhirter and Alex

:11:45.:11:55.
:11:55.:11:58.

Massie. Thank you both for coming in. The

:11:58.:12:01.

argument over charitable tax donations - where will this send-

:12:01.:12:09.

up? I think it demonstrates two things. The first is that the

:12:09.:12:12.

Treasury's default presumption that every pound in Britain belongs to

:12:12.:12:21.

it. It will grudgingly allow it taxpayers to retain some of their

:12:21.:12:25.

money but in an ideal world, but regime would receive all money

:12:25.:12:30.

first and then gradually disperse some of it. The second thing is

:12:30.:12:36.

that is another political problem for the Conservatives and for a

:12:36.:12:41.

government that is friendless in the media. The Daily Mail has been

:12:41.:12:46.

hostile and the Daily Telegraph has also been hostile. This is a

:12:46.:12:49.

Conservative lead a government that is not tenable popular in the

:12:49.:12:55.

Conservative press. The more details that come out about the

:12:55.:13:01.

Chancellor's budget, you more you see it is -- the more you see here

:13:01.:13:07.

is an inveterate tinkerer. It is all far too clever by half. It is

:13:07.:13:12.

reminiscent of Gordon Brown in some respects. You have a Chancellor who

:13:12.:13:18.

has delivered at tax-raising Budget ineptly disguised as a tax cutting

:13:18.:13:24.

Budget. Once everything begins to unravel, people are increasingly

:13:24.:13:30.

aware of how many taxes are being increased. And surprisingly, this

:13:30.:13:34.

is unpopular. Where you surprised when he said he had no idea this

:13:34.:13:43.

was going on? If he didn't know, that's worrying. People from his

:13:43.:13:46.

background should know all about the ways in which charities and

:13:46.:13:51.

charitable trusts can be used. The Government is making it clear there

:13:51.:13:59.

will be concessions and this may make it even worse. There is an

:13:59.:14:03.

inequity in that if you are I donate to charity, we cannot set

:14:03.:14:08.

that against her income tax. We cannot use it to reduce their tax

:14:08.:14:12.

bill. That is the inequity. People who have more money than we do can

:14:12.:14:19.

do that. It has been used transparently as a way of reducing

:14:19.:14:29.
:14:29.:14:32.

tax. What is the answer then? We have heard about the problems if

:14:32.:14:37.

those large donations Dyer up? Is the answer better regulated

:14:37.:14:43.

charities? Perhaps we should all be given tax relief for her charitable

:14:43.:14:46.

donations. Either that are encourage people who are wealthy

:14:46.:14:52.

enough to pay donations to pay their taxes as well. A taxes go to

:14:52.:14:56.

pay for schools and hospitals and to keep people at the poverty.

:14:56.:15:01.

These are worthwhile objectives and I think it is wrong to avoid paying

:15:01.:15:09.

what I did used to be part of a civil society, which are our taxes.

:15:09.:15:14.

The obviously where in a pickle after the Budget after their granny

:15:14.:15:20.

tax and the pass the tax. They had to do something to move matters on

:15:20.:15:24.

and the focus on tax evasion. Looking at tax evasion, the first

:15:24.:15:28.

issue is how money is given to charitable trusts. I thought Ian

:15:28.:15:32.

was going to say it was just some dinner-party chat which would have

:15:32.:15:41.

allowed me to say it, let's move on to the front page of the Economist.

:15:41.:15:45.

That is the sort of thing you hear in dinner-parties. What did you

:15:45.:15:53.

make of the fact, the sort of response is that drew in. First off,

:15:53.:15:57.

it was a successful cover and managed to get people talking about

:15:57.:16:07.
:16:07.:16:08.

it. In terms of humour and irony of satire, it is the able but not

:16:08.:16:13.

quite as feeble as many of the nationalist responses to it. It is

:16:14.:16:19.

not a grotesque insult to all come up -- all Scots or evidence of

:16:19.:16:23.

Little Englander imperialism. People have to grow up about it and

:16:23.:16:28.

if you cannot take a joke, you cannot run a country. I thought it

:16:28.:16:33.

was mildly amusing and a sub private-eye way. If you read the

:16:33.:16:41.

article itself, it is a rather feeble proposition. You can see

:16:41.:16:46.

right at the start that the Scot can actually pay their way. Looking

:16:46.:16:50.

at where the SNP are heading in terms of membership of NATO, what

:16:50.:16:57.

you think of that? It is moving and it has been moving for a long time.

:16:57.:17:02.

NATO itself is something of an anachronism. It was set up to deal

:17:02.:17:06.

with the perceived menace from the Soviet Union. That no longer

:17:06.:17:14.

applies in the same form. The SNP is all about removing the negatives.

:17:14.:17:17.

They want to encourage people that they are about joining something

:17:17.:17:21.

rather than leaving everything. They say that instead of talking

:17:21.:17:26.

about NATO we must talk about some kind of informal Nordic alliance

:17:26.:17:31.

with countries who are non-nuclear. The problem is that NATO is

:17:31.:17:36.

explicitly and nuclear alliance and we have the nuclear weapons here.

:17:36.:17:43.

What is most interesting to see as we get closer to independence is

:17:43.:17:48.

how the existence of these bases is used in negotiations on some form

:17:48.:17:54.

of federalism or independence, and who will see some delaying of the

:17:54.:17:58.

timetable over that in which nuclear weapons would be removed

:17:58.:18:08.
:18:08.:18:09.

from our soil. They will be part of independence negotiations?

:18:09.:18:16.

negotiator would throw away the submarines on the Clyde. The SNP's

:18:17.:18:22.

defence policy, like it and Akram's, was not built and a day. It is part

:18:22.:18:29.

of a way of removing objections in Middle Scotland to voting SNP. They

:18:29.:18:34.

need to reassure voters that in the same way the SNP has changed its

:18:34.:18:40.

Political magazine presented by Andrew Neil and Isabel Fraser.


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