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Nicola Sturgeon dealt painful blow as Scottish cities called out for sluggish wage growth

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With inflation and the cost of living having an adverse effect on many workers across the UK, the First Minister is seeing the first hand impact on Scotland’s economy. The list showed Aberdeen and seven other Scottish cities top the embarrassing news for the Scottish National Party leader.

The slowest wage growth crown was won by Aberdeen, which saw a mere 5.22 percent rise.

The national average of wage growth is 28 percent.

Seven other Scottish cities also completed the top 15.

The Shetland Island, Na h-Eileanan Siar, Clackmannanshire and Fife, Caithness and Sutherland, Ross and Cromarty, Angus and Dundee, the Orkney Islands, and Inverness and Nairn all made the top spots.

The highest non-Scottish location on the chart was South Teesside in England, with Mid and East Antrim in Northern Ireland also making up the numbers.

On the contrary, the 15 highest wage rises were all bar one dominated by London boroughs.

Topping the charts was Hackney and Newham on 51.03 percent.

In 15th place was Cambridgeshire at 32.94 percent.

A Digital ID spokesperson commented on the findings: “The UK is facing a serious cost-of-living crisis, from soaring inflation to unmanageable energy bills, and this data reveals just how hard it is for many areas of the country to swallow the costs.

“The stagnant wages in areas such as Aberdeen, South Teesside, Durham and Derby show just how much the decision to increase National Insurance by 1.25 percentage points in April – which actually translates to an average 10 percent increase in National Insurance – will affect workers who are just trying to provide for their families.”

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The news comes adds extra pressure on Ms Sturgeon whom last week was warned Babcock, a major employer in the region would consider leaving Scotland for England should they not be made welcome after Scottish independence.

Furthermore, the First Minister has also come under attack from some of the more isolated communities in Scotland over a lack of regular and credible ferry services to islands.

Although unemployment in Scotland has been on the decrease since 1992, the current rate currently stands at 4.1 percent as of December 2021.

Yet with wage growth so low, the notion of workers leaving the area to find more prosperous jobs could lead to a labour shortage in the future.

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With the SNP keen to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence as early as next year, some suggest the economy could take a further dive if successful.

Although the benefits of rejoining the EU would once again see Scotland receive funding and grants from the EU, as well as CAP and CFP boosts, a hard border with England could lose Ms Sturgeon more than she gains.

A report by the respected Economics Observatory examined the potential impact on international trade if Scots voted Yes at a future IndyRef2.

It warned EU membership could come at the cost of creating a hard border with England which would push up the price of doing business in both countries.

The report read: “If Scotland were to rejoin the EU, its border with the rest of the UK would become one of the EU’s external borders,

“As the UK is no longer part of the EU’s single market or customs union, this means cross-border trade would be subject to customs checks and other border barriers.

“In addition, physical border infrastructure would probably be required at crossing points between Scotland and England.”

COULD THIS SPELL ECONOMIC DISASTER FOR THE SNP? HOW WILL NICOLA STURGEON REACT TO THE NEWS? HAVE YOU WITNESSED LOW WAGE RISES IN YOUR AREA? JOIN THE DEBATE AND HAVE YOUR SAY IN OUR COMMENTS SECTION – JUST CLICK HERE – EVERY VOICE MATTERS!

It added: “Since the increase in border costs between Scotland and the rest of the UK would be greater if Scotland rejoins the EU than if it remains in a common market with the rest of the UK, an independent Scotland would face a trade-off.

“A good rule of thumb is borders are less costly when they affect less trade.

“This suggests as long as the rest of the UK remains Scotland’s most important trade partner, Scotland would be better off prioritising integration with the rest of the UK, which means staying outside the EU.”

According to the London School of Economics, a hard border between England and Scotland would cost around 5.5 percent of Scotland’s GDP.

Dr David Comerford, from The University of Stirling writing for an LSE blog said: “The impact of performing this counterfactual exercise is a function of assumed parameters, but our central estimate is a reduction in Scottish GDP of 5.5 percent.

“The impact of a completely autarkic Scotland using these parameters is a reduction in Scottish GDP of 20.9 percent.”



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'Have to kick the pedal to the metal' Ex-Ukrainian leader slams Macron tank aide hesitancy

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Ex-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk sat down on LBC Radio to discuss NATO leaders. NATO has been allying themselves with Ukraine, sending help and weaponry and taking fleeing Ukrainian refugees. NATO members held a conference on the Russian invasion earlier this week to discuss more ways to help Ukraine.

Mr Yatsenyuk pushed for Macron to send over military tanks as promised, slamming him for dragging his feet, and claiming that the war in Ukraine affects the security of every European country.

Mr Yatsenyuk said: “That’s what Putin is closely watching, as for now, Putin didn’t expect this kind of unity and consolidated and concerted actions against the Russian federation.

“But you know, the time is running and we don’t have enough time to wait until some EU member states decide to supply more weapons to Ukraine.

“Or to impose tougher and stronger sanctions on the Russian Federation, so the EU has to be decisive and they have to speed up the process of new sanctions.

“And the shipment and delivery of weapons to Ukraine, because it’s not just about Ukraina and they realise it clearly, this is about the free world.

“And this is about the security of every single nation in the European Union, so the French have to kick the pedal to the metal.”

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky explained this week that he expected “serious steps” from Western-allied countries.

Mr Zelensky repeated the calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine to be imposed by NATO forces and complained that the Western allies had not yet provided Ukraine with sufficient planes, up to date modern anti-missile systems, tanks or anti-ship weapons.

Mr Zelensky added: “At these three summits we will see who is our friend, who is our partner and who sold us out and betrayed us.”

President Zelensky also expressed that he was grateful for the support Ukraine was continuing to receive from individual NATO member countries from around the world.

Mr Zelensky added: “But NATO has yet to show what the alliance can do to save people,” he said. “It feels like we’re in the grey zone between the West and Russia, but we’re protecting all our and your shared values.

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Mr Johnson added: “We’ve got to tighten the economic vice around Putin, sanctioning more people today, as we are, sanctioning the Wagner Group, looking at what we can do to stop Putin using his gold reserves, and also doing more to help the Ukrainians defend themselves.”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been playing an active role in trying to de-escalate the war with Russia by imposing tight sanctions on Russia to try and stop Putin’s warpath of destruction.

Ms Truss has warned that infighting between NATO countries at the moment could be highly detrimental for progress in ending the war.

Mr Truss said: “Russia’s targeting of critical national infrastructure is calculated and dangerous.

“It shows Putin is prepared to risk lives to sow division and confusion among allies.”



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Brexit news: What happens when Article 16 is triggered?

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After Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) was confirmed, the two parties have been attempting to renegotiate terms for a special Brexit deal relating to Northern Ireland. Coined the Northern Ireland protocol it’s been a point of contention that’s led to threats from each side of triggering a mechanism called Article 16. But what is it?

What is Article 16?

The UK and EU agreed to the creation of the Northern Ireland protocol, in October 2019.

By allowing goods to flow freely between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland the deal removed the threat of a hard border.

But the arrangement has also resulted in what’s been labelled as an ‘Irish Sea border’.

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Goods that now arrive into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK are subjected to more stringent checks and controls.

In the scenario that either the UK or EU feel that the protocol is leading to significant issues or hampering their capacity to trade, then they have the option of activating Article 16.

The component sets out the process for taking unilateral “safeguard” measures, which in reality would amount to suspending parts of the deal.

Specifically, Article 16 says safeguard measures can be taken if the protocol is leading to serious “economic, societal or environmental difficulties” that are liable to persist.

He said: “Triggering Article 16 now would severely disrupt the unity of the UK and EU response to the war in Ukraine.

“It is thus perhaps not surprising that key US figures chose this week to restate that any uncertainty around the stability of the Good Friday Agreement would hinder a future UK-US trade deal.”

In recent months talks between Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and her EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic have stalled, leading to calls from Brexiteers for the UK to act.

However, Professor Menon cautioned that triggering Article 16 won’t “rid” Britain of the protocol.

He added: “I think the British Government if it triggers Article 16 will do something relatively small and contained.

“And then there’s not a massive bust-up. You don’t end up getting rid of the protocol. You end up with months if not years of negotiations, mediation and arbitration.

“So, it’s a way of doing something but it’s not a way of solving anything. In a sense you’re still stuck with the protocol and you’re still negotiating about the future of the protocol.”

In essence, were Article 16 to be triggered it wouldn’t have a huge impact on the ground.

Many of the checks on goods flowing from Britain to Northern Ireland have already been unilaterally suspended.

Triggering the mechanism itself would only start a formal dispute process that requires both sides to go into talks to resolve.



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NATO slammed as former US Army chief exposes ‘two big issues’ in united Russia response

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US Army vice chief of staff general Jack Keane, sat down on LBC radio to talk about the NATO conference which took place earlier this week. Mr Keane discussed the possibility that Putin could deploy chemical biological weapons on the battlefield. Russian President Vladimir Putin has already used the highly condemned thermobaric weapons since the war started just over a month ago.

The US Army chief acknowledged there had been no public policy declaration on the consequences Putin would face if he was to take such a barbaric action.

Mr Keane said: “Listen I was very disappointed by the NATO summit.

“I totally applaud the fact that they’re going to increase by 40k troops in Eastern Europe.

“And they’re increasing sanctions and it seems like a sense of unity.

“But on two big issues, it’s got to be disappointing, there’s no NATO public policy declaration.

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Mr Keane added: “At the end of that summit to deal with this particular issue, chemical biological weapons and nuclear weapons which the Russians have been waving in front of our face now for almost 30 days.

“What we need is… Think policy statement, not something that’s left to a reporter to ask a question on.

“And then you get a statement that you just repeated, which leads to more confirmation than anything else.

“A much better statement, using my words… I don’t want to put words into other people’s mouths.

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“But with me, the use of any form of WMB would be unacceptable.

“We will not let it stand, it will result in decisive consequential actions and all options are on the table.

“Words to that effect, in a public policy statement, and we didn’t get it and it’s really unfortunate.

“And what it does it leaves in the minds of Putin and his  leaders just what would the reaction be, ambiguous like that and I think it’s very unfortunate.”

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Fear of the Russian military deploying chemical biological weapons has been heightened.

Ukrainian outlet InformNapalm has warned that: “Our conclusions may sound premature or too apocalyptic, but after the missile attacks and bombing of civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, which the Russian army resorted to, we believe that it is necessary to make these data public and try to thwart any such intentions of Russia.”

And NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels on Thursday: “We’ve tried to be very clear about the gravity of the use of any such chemical weapons.

“These are agents that should never be employed and certainly not on the battlefield, as we are concerned Russia might.”



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