Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Mitt Romney Aide Insults Reporters In Poland

As Mitt Romney left the site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw and walked toward his motorcade parked in Pilsudski Square, reporters began shouting questions from the line where campaign staffers had told them to stay behind, prompting traveling press secretary Rick Gorka to tell a group of reporters to "kiss my a**" and "shove it."He later apologized.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Dead Tree Press In Ireland

Sunday Newspapers: Circulation Figures
Sunday Independent 250,641
Sunday World 251,455
Sunday Business Post 44,529
Irish Mail on Sunday 122,231
The Sunday Times 109,539
Irish Sunday Mirror 66,403
Total Sunday Newspapers Circulation: 844,798

Sunday, 29 July 2012

New SundayTimes/Real Radio Opinion Poll Shows SNP Lead

Detailed analysis of the Sunday Times/Real Radio poll by Panelbase shows that the SNP is leading across all age groups, genders, socio-economic groupings and resident types in both the constituency and regional polls for the Scottish Parliament.
The overall poll puts SNP support at 47% in the constituency vote for the Scottish Parliament - a 2% increase since the historic election result of 2011 with the three other parties falling back or remaining static. Labour were at 32%, the Tories 12% and the LibDems trailing badly at 6%.
The regional vote also puts the SNP up 2% since 2011 on 46% with Labour 18 points behind on 28%, the Tories on 11%, the Greens 2% ahead of the LibDems on 6% and others on 4%.
Commenting on the poll breakdowns the SNP’s Campaigns Director Angus Robertson MP said:
“The overall result of this poll was already fantastic showing the SNP ahead of its landslide result in 2011. However to be leading across all age, gender, socio-economic and resident sectors is spectacular.
“The SNP is moving Scotland forward – delivering strong, competent Government in the face of Westminster cuts and this poll shows that people are supporting the SNP for protecting Scotland’s progress.
“This poll shows people in Scotland trust the SNP and have serious doubts about the anti-independence parties.
“The more people look at the kind of country they want Scotland to be the more they realise that the status quo is holding Scotland back.
“They want a better future and it is the SNP offering that option with our commitment to free prescriptions, the implementation of a living wage, retaining police officer numbers at the highest ever levels, free higher education, enhancing childcare provision to be the best in the UK, and delivering record low waiting times.
“The Panelbase results pile more pressure on the anti-independence coalition to spell out what their vision is for Scotland’s constitutional future – the people of Scotland deserve to know what their alternative amounts to.”

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Tory MP Attacks Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

Tory MP Aidan Burley has attacked the London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony on Twitter. One of Mr Burley's posts read: 'The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen - more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?'Shortly afterwards he added: 'Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multicultural c***. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!'

Friday, 27 July 2012

Mitt Romney Discusses Meeting With MI6 Chief


England Is Just A Small Island Says Mitt Romney

“England is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn’t make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy. And if it hadn’t been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler’s ambitions.” so Mitt Romney has written in his latest book No Apology: The Case For American Greatness.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Obama Election advert Banned By Youtube


Why Can't We Be A Bit More Like Finland?

Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialisation, remaining a largely agrarian Country until the 1950s. Its economic development was rapid. Finland is one of the world's wealthiest nations with per capita income of $49,349. It has built an extensive welfare state and balanced between the East and the West in global economics and politics. With the best educational system in Europe according to some measures, Finland has recently been ranked as one of the world's ,competitive and livable countries in the world. Finland is also a member of the EU and recently helped bail out Spain.

Tony Blairs Government Ignored West Lothian Question

Commenting on an admission by former Labour Minister Kim Howells, that Tony Blair’s government deliberately ignored the ‘West Lothian Question’ when drawing up devolution plans, SNP MP Eilidh Whiteford said the comments underlined Labour’s ongoing constitutional confusion and head in the sand approach.

Giving evidence to McKay Commission on the West Lothian question, Dr Howells said Labour decided to “stay away from it” because it was “difficult”.

Commenting, Dr Whiteford said:

“Kim Howells admission underlines Labour’s ongoing constitutional confusion and head in the sand approach.

“Unlike Labour, who have no solutions, the SNP offers an elegant answer to the constitutional confusion – independence. Our governments at Westminster and Holyrood should make all their own decisions, working together in a modern partnership of equals.

“In the meantime, our MPs at Westminster address the West Lothian question by applying a self-denying ordinance. We only vote on issues which impact on Scotland.

“The West Lothian Question will not be resolved by fiddling with procedures in the antiquated old system at Westminster. There will always be anomalies under the current devolved set up.

“The question Labour now need to answer is why they think is it better having laws and decisions for Scotland made by over 90% of Westminster Parliamentarians, including Peers, not directly elected by people in Scotland instead of a Scottish Parliament 100% elected directly elected by people in Scotland?

“There is one clear solution to the West Lothian question – a 21st century partnership of equals with independence for Scotland.”

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Mitt Romney's Heritage

Mitt Romneys heritage includes a Great Grandfather who had five wives. Miles Park Romney's five wives, in order of marriage, were Hannah Hood Hill (1862), Caroline "Carrie" Lambourne (1867), Catherine Jane Cottam (1873), Alice Marie "Annie" Woodbury (1877) and Emily "Millie" Henrietta Eyring Snow (1897).
Miles Park Romney moved to Mexico from Arizona in 1885 when polygamy was outlawed in the USA.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Eight People Charged In Phone Hacking Case

Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks have been charged with phone hacking. Also charged were the News Of The World's former head of news Ian Edmonson, Neville Thurlbeck, its former chief reporter, Stuart Kuttner, the managing editor and former executives Greg Miskiw and James Weatherup.As well as Glenn Mulclaire a private detective once employed by the newspaper.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Daley Thompson Tells Anti-Irish Joke On BBC Television

The double Olympic champion prompted complaints to the BBC after cracking an anti-Irish joke.
The 53-year-old was on The One Show when he made the remark about a torchbearer with a tattoo bearing the misspelling ‘Oylmpic’.
He joked the tattooist must have been Irish – before being told it was done in the USA.
The BBC issued an apology after complaints were made, adding Thompson’s comments ‘were clearly meant as a joke’.
In a letter to one complainant, the license payer funded corporation wrote: ‘Thompson's comments about this were clearly meant as a joke but we apologise if any offence was caused; it certainly wasn't our intention.
‘Matt [Baker] corrected Daley straight away and Alex [Jones] offered an on-air apology at the end of the show.’

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Yes Scotland Advisory Board Membership Announced

The members of the board which will lead the campaign group for Scottish independence have been announced.

The eight include Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, actress Elaine C Smith and musician and writer Pat Kane.

The advisory board for Yes Scotland will be chaired by former MP Dennis Canavan.

Sir George Mathewson, former RBS chair, will offer advice as honorary vice-president but he is not a board member.

The other members are property developer Dan Macdonald, solicitor and businesswoman Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, socialist politician and former MSP Colin Fox, businesswoman Sarah-Jane Walls and restaurateur Andrew Fairlie.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Luke Skywalker Supports Barack Obama

"But just the idea of a privileged person fighting for the underdog—there's something very romantic about that. I guess it goes back to Robin Hood. People that are fighting for the middle class and for the have-nots. It's something that we see even playing out in the presidential race. And if you don't vote for Barack Obama, you're insane! Because without him, I think the middle class will completely disappear." says Mark Hamill.

Mark Hamill who played the role of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films then talked about Mitt Romney, and whereas Republicans have recently once again taken to referring to Barack Obama as "foreign" in his ideas, if not necessarily on his birth certificate, Hamill expressed doubt in the terrestrial origins of Mitt Romney:

"And you look at Romney, and I'm sure he's a nice guy, but I think he's like The Thing—he only imitates human behavior. He's not actually human himself. You know he had lemonade on the campaign trail last week and he said: 'Lemon. Wet. Good.' Really, he said that! So, God bless him. I'm enjoying him running for office, but I just came out as a lifelong Democrat."

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Polish Association Condemn The Burning Of Their National Flag

Maciek Bator of the association said: "The Polish community embrace and respect all traditions here in Northern Ireland but we find this behaviour totally appalling and offensive."The Polish flag is a symbol of freedom, independence and peace for the 30,000 Polish people living in Northern Ireland and around 80 million across the globe."By burning the Polish flag and other symbols, some members of the local communities were able to express their strong political views and promote anti-Polish sentiments"For many participants, especially the youth and young people, the burning of the Polish flag could become a clear signal to expand hate to other aspects of life."There is already a high level of hate motivated incidents on members of the Polish community. We call on all political and community leaders in Northern Ireland to take urgent action to stop hatred and bigotry."Alliance Party MLA Anna Lo has described those who burnt Polish flags on bonfires as "bigots"."It is completely unacceptable for people to burn any flag. The people who burnt these Polish flags are nothing more than bigots. It is the actions of a hateful person who would do such a thing," she said."I would urge community leaders to encourage the people involved in the building of these bonfires to ensure that nothing like a flag or an effigy is placed on them."This is clearly racist behaviour which is doing the image of Northern Ireland a lot of damage."A spokesperson for Belfast City Council said: "We are aware of the issue and it will be raised as part of our regular evaluation of the bonfire programme."

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Unemployment Up In The Six Counties

In June, the number of people claiming unemployment related benefits stood at 62,900.

The percentage claiming jobseekers' allowance in the North was higher than the UK average and second highest among the 12 UK regions.

Over the past year the number of people signing on in the Six Counties has risen by 3,200.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

New Survey Finds Almost Two Out Of Three Welsh People Want Income Tax Levels Decided By The Welsh Assembly

Nearly two out of three people in Wales think that the level of income tax they pay should be decided in the Welsh Assembly, according to an opinion poll conducted by the Silk Commission.

The Commission found that 64% of the people questioned said powers over tax should be devolved to the Welsh government. At the moment the Assembly has no tax-raising powers, but relies on a grant from Whitehall.

The poll also found that 81% of people believed that income tax should not be devolved without a referendum on the issue. On top of this, the report highlighted that the general public did not have an extensive knowledge of tax issues in Wales.

Mr Silk said, “While the results show clear support for the devolution of tax and borrowing powers, we must be mindful as a commission of the concerns they also reveal”.

These concerns relate to the fact that whilst people are unsure of tax arrangements, if forced to choose they would vote for devolution rather than against it.

Silk said, “It was also clear from the report that there is a limited understanding of taxation issues and from the outset we have sought to address this”.


Monday, 16 July 2012

Number Of People Living In the Six Counties Increases By 125,000

The population in the North of Ireland has increased by 125,000 according to the first results released today of the 2011 NI Census. It is the biggest increase ever recorded. The population on census day was 1,810,900 people. http://www.nisra.gov.uk/Census/pop_stats_bulletin_2011.pdf

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Barack Obama's Latest TV Advert

E Mail From Stewart Regan Of The SFA

Many thanks for your contribution and support over the last two weeks in trying to deliver a programme of change that will move Scottish football forward whilst addressing the need to deal with the Rangers matter with integrity and in line with our own values as an organisation. I was hugely encouraged with where we got to last night on a long and tiring phone call and I thank all of you for your efforts to move this issue forward. I thought it would be helpful if I summarised where I think we are: 1. The Rangers Football Club will be relegated to the 1st Division of the SFL with immediate effect and will be replaced in the SPL by Dundee FC. 2. The television rights for Rangers FC matches in the SFL will be purchased by the SPL for the sum of £1m as a one-off fee for the season 2012/2013. 3. The two leagues will merge into a single league body – The Scottish Professional Football League – effective season 2013/14 – with a working party set up immediately involving representatives from the SPL, SFL and (if required) the Scottish FA to plan the integration of the two bodies – people, rules, rebranding, commercial considerations and so on. 4. A new Board of Directors will be appointed to govern the single league. The make up of this Board will consist of an Independent Chairman, CEO, 3 representatives from the Premier League, 2 representatives from the Championship/Leagues 1 & 2 and 2 Independent Non-Executive Directors. 5. Play-offs will be introduced immediately with the first matches taking place at the end of the coming season 2012/2013. 6. Enhanced parachute payments will be implemented from the end of the season 2012/2013 to soften the landing for club(s) relegated from the Premier League. 7. A revised all-through distribution model will be put in place to provide: a) An all-through distribution model for clubs 1-22 and a minimum guarantee for 20 clubs in Leagues 1 & 2, equivalent to what they would earn under the current settlement agreement. 8. A Pyramid System will be put in place which open up the bottom of League 2 effective from the end of season 2013/2014 with the first opportunity for promoted clubs to enter the league being 2014/15 thus allowing for licensing to take place. 9. Consolidation below the Third Division to take place to create a Lowland & Highland League structure effective 2014/15 with appropriate play-offs and promotion/relegation to be put in place. Clubs to be briefed that the previous season 2013/2014 will involve the opportunity to enter play-offs for the first time. In terms of actions/timings I think the following needs to happen in this coming week: A) A joint statement today from all 3 bodies confirming that productive discussions have taken place on a new blueprint for Scottish football. Consultation will continue over the next two weeks with a view to clubs getting together week commencing 2nd July to try and agree the way forward. (D Broadfoot to provide this and circulate to DL/ND for approval) B) Rod P / Jim B to finalise the all-through financial model by Wednesday this week latest. C) Neil / David to finalise the detail on Governance, Commercials and Play-Offs (ideally Monday/Tuesday) and incorporate these, plus the financials in B) above into a legally binding Heads of Terms ‘draft’ for presentation to each league body w/c 2nd July. D) DL to organise SFL Board Meeting w/c 25th June to gain buy-in to the plan and also arrange an all club meeting w/c 2nd July E) ND to gain support from SPL Clubs 28th June F) SFL Clubs Meeting to be planned for 3rd July G) SPL Club Meeting to be planned for 4th July H) Scottish FA Board to sign off on the final plan post 4th July. Subject to approval all bodies (including Newco) to sign legal documentation. I) Agree joint communication strategy J) In parallel to A-D above, could Rod Petrie please brief Charles Green confidentially on the discussions from a Scottish FA perspective so that there are ‘no surprises’ and there is a general acceptance of the plan plus all of the other conditions discussed e.g. transfer embargo, fines, repayment of football debt, waiving rights to legal challenge, acceptance of relegation and so on. K) Andrew to ensure our check list of disclosures relating to Newco and Fit & Proper Person criteria are delivered by 2nd july. The Board will need these plus the Heads of Terms above in order to complete this plan. The Scottish FA Board have agreed to provide a one-off restructuring budget of £1m on condition the above plan is delivered. I hope this covers everything. Speak soon….now off to the airport! Regards Stewart  

Friday, 13 July 2012

The Real Face Of The Orange Order

Thr Orange Order attack a cameraman who was filming them march up and down outside a Roman Catholic Church in North Belfast playing the Famine Song.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Public Inquiry Findings Give Go Ahead For Building Of A5

The SDLP West Tyrone MLA Joe Byrne has welcomed the inquiry's findings.

"This is a very positive and progressive move which should now remove any legal impediment for work on the Newbuildings to Strabane and the Ballygawley to Omagh stretches of the A5 to begin in September," he said.

"I look forward immensely to that work commencing and being conducted swiftly and efficiently to
provide a high-quality roadway which will benefit individuals and businesses in this part of the North and further afield."

Number Of Scottish Students Applying To Study At English Universities Has Fallen By 15.7%

The latest figures on university applications show the impact that tuition fees south of the border is having on prospective students from Scotland.

The number of people in Scotland applying to English universities has fallen by 15.7 per cent since last year, compared to a small reduction in applications from this group to Scottish universities of just 1.7%.

The total number of applicants to any UK university from English domiciles fell by 10% since last year, compared to a total fall of around 2% from Scotland.

Commenting on the impact that tuition fees south of the border is having, SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell who convenes the Education and Culture committee said:

“The evidence from UCAS is clear, the burden of stratospheric tuition fees imposed by the UK Government in England is driving many young people away from studying.

“The very small reduction of applications of young Scots to Scottish universities where tuition is free stands in stark contrast to applications from prospective Scottish students to English institutions which have fallen by a staggering 16% in a single year.

“The SNP has been clear that education should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay. That is a principle which we firmly committed itself to, which is why we abolished back-door tuition fees in Scotland when we came to power.

“Young Scots and their families can rest assured that the SNP will never introduce tuition fees for the people of Scotland. Labour must now commit themselves to free university tuition or face the charge that they are no better than the Lib Dems on this issue.

“A successful economy is a well-educated economy. It is in all our interests to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to access higher education, which is what makes the actions of successive UK Governments an absolute tragedy.”

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Coming Home

Alan Cumming the Hollywood actor is moving back home to Scotland in order to vote for Scottish Independence. He is currently house hunting in Edinburgh. Mr Cumming recently appeared on the BBC's Question Time supporting Scottish Independence. He was taunted on the show by Michael Forsyth who said that Mr Cumming would do everything for Scottish Independence but live there. Lets hope Alan is the first of many Scots returning home to the country of their birth to vote yes for Scottish Independence.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Scottish Economy Improves According To Latest PMI Survey

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "Despite the ongoing challenges, there are positive indications that the recovery continues in Scotland. "This latest PMI survey indicates that private sector growth remains positive for the 18th consecutive month and that new business continues to grow. "Scotland outperformed the UK as a whole in terms of output growth, new orders and employment generation."

Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Giants Causeway Is Evidence Of Noah's Flood According To Caleb Foundation

George Dawson the late DUP MLA and then Chairman of the Caleb Foundation wrote a letter to a Unionist newspaper in 2006

...have been pressing government on the need to ensure that interpretation at the new Causeway interpretative centre is inclusive of the views expressed by Rev Dr Greer [a creationist who argues that the Causeway provides evidence of Noah's Flood]... This is a matter of equality and tourism opportunity. In equality terms it is incumbent upon government not to discriminate against this equally scientific viewpoint and those who believe it.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Causeway Visitors Centre And The Young Earth Creationists

"We have worked closely with the National Trust over many months with a view to ensuring that the new Causeway Visitor Centre includes an acknowledgement both of the legitimacy of the creationist position on the origins of the unique Causeway stones and of the ongoing debate around this," Mr Wallace Thompson of the Caleb Foundation said."We want to thank senior National Trust officials who have worked closely with us over a prolonged period, and we are pleased that this constructive engagement has helped to bring about such a positive result."This is, as far as we are aware, a first for the National Trust anywhere in the UK, and it sets a precedent for others to follow."

SFA Chief Warns Of Social Unrest If Rangers Newco Don't Get Into Division One

Stewart Regan the SFA Chief has warned of dire consequences unless Rangers Newco are admitted to Division One. He said: “Without Rangers there is social unrest – there is a big problem for Scottish society.

“I think if you look at the huge fan base Rangers have in this country, to contemplate a situation where those fans don’t have a team to support, where those fans are effectively left without a game to follow – I just think that could lead to all sorts of issues and all sorts of problems for the game. Tribalism in football is really important, a part of the game.

“People follow their club with pride. It’s passed down from generation to generation and there are thousands of Rangers fans whose fathers have been Rangers fans and whose grandfathers have been Rangers fans.

“You can’t contemplate a situation without that and if Rangers weren’t to exist I think that could have real dire consequences.”

Monday, 2 July 2012

Alex Salmond Is Open To Persuasion On Devo Max Or Fiscal Autonomy

Alex Salmond said “There’s a view abroad in Scotland that perhaps it would be better from where we are now – where we now control about 16% of Scotland’s revenue base, that rather than become an independent country, at least in the first stage, that that fiscal base should increase to something near 100%, and that’s often called devo max or fiscal autonomy. And it’s a very attractive argument, incidentally.
“It has a major problem and that is that the UK government, while they respect the right and the ability of Scots to decide on independence, are not prepared to accept the right of the Scottish people to decide on devo max. They say that devo max should not be on the ballot paper. My position is a bit different from that.
“My concern as first minister of Scotland is to make sure the independence question is on the ballot paper and fairly asked – But I’m open to persuasion that there should be a second question, as it’s called, so people should be asked, ‘Do you want independence?’ And if it’s not answered Yes, ‘Would you like fiscal autonomy, or devo max, or fiscal responsibility?”

Sunday, 1 July 2012

2.54 Billion Pounds Wasted On Trident Warheads By Labour

Ahead of Westminster's Defence Committee taking evidence on an independent Scotland on Tuesday, the SNP has challenged Johann Lamont to say why it is better together with a UK Government wasting millions of pounds on Trident, as figures reveal £2.54 billion was spent on the running costs of the nuclear warheads in Labour’s last three years of office. Ministry of Defence figures revealed in response to a parliamentary question show the real and projected costs of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), which builds and maintains the warheads for the Trident system, between 2007 and 2018. The figures show:- · Scotland’s share of the money spent on Trident’s replacement in the last three years of the Labour government was £2.564 billion. Scotland’s share of this, £215 million, could have funded:- up to 430 doctors (at £500,000 per doctor); up to 5,119 nurses (at £42,000 per nurse); up to 5,972 teachers (at £36,000 for Initial Teacher Education); up to 27 single stream Primary Schools (at £8,000,000 per school); up to 11 Secondary Schools (at £20,000,000 per school); up to 11 Community Hospitals (at £20,000,000 per hospital). · Over the next 6 years Scottish taxpayers will spend an average £83m a year to make nuclear warheads that can never be used. That money would pay for an additional 1500 service personnel - at a time when military personnel based in Scotland is at its lowest level in memory. · The total cost between 2007-18, or ten years, is £10.4 billion. Scotland’s share is £877 million. £10.4 billion equals four aircraft carriers. Or at the projected rate of building, one Type 26 built on the clyde every year, enough to keep them busy for 26 years at today's prices. SNP Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP said: “Today we see the social cost of the UK Government’s nuclear obsession. Labour and the Tories proceed with their warped priority of investing in weapons of mass destruction before better local services. “The millions blown every year on nuclear warheads is unjust, immoral and a democratic affront to the people of Scotland. "Church leaders, the Scottish Trades Union Congress, The Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament are all against weapons of mass destruction being in our waters. "Johann Lamont must end her silence on Trident and explain where she stands on this obscene waste of money. "Son of Trident is the wrong choice for Scotland's future - it is a terrible way to spend precious resources – and yet the UK Government has already committed over a billion paving the way for its replacement before a decision on renewal has been agreed. “What this country needs is a government that will make decisions based on what the people living here actually want and only an independent Scotland can deliver this."

£100 Million Extra To Boost Scottish Economy

The SNP’s sound management of the Scottish budget has released an additional £100 million to boost the economy. Funding will be provided to build an additional 650 homes across Scotland, while the A75 between Hardgrove and Kinmount will be upgraded this year. The upgrade of this road will provide a huge economic boost to Dumfries and Galloway, as well as creating jobs and apprenticeships during its construction. The economic impact of the closure of RAF Kinloss will be addressed with a £10 million investment in enterprise and infrastructure in Forres. Additional money will also be allocated to support the renewables industry, to invest in Inverness Campus and regenerate Inverclyde. The SNP has consistently called upon the UK Government for capital investment to be increased to stimulate growth and has provided a list of 30 shovel-ready projects. Those projects would support 1,400 jobs across the country, providing a much needed boost at a critical time for the Scottish economy. Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Economic Growth John Swinney said: "The Scottish Government is maximising the value of every public pound available as we take forward our programmes to support economic recovery and deliver high-quality, efficient public services. "Our careful management of Scotland's finances means that we are able to increase levels of capital investment now to boost our future prosperity. "While these projects will support and stimulate economic growth, they will also deliver on a range of wider objectives such as environmental and health improvement, housing, greener transport, maintenance of our health estate, and culture and tourism. We are also focusing our support on local economies and investment in key geographical areas. "By accelerating this programme of capital investment we are taking action where the Westminster Government has failed to do so. As I have said repeatedly, the UK's austerity approach is failing to produce growth in the UK economy and we are doing everything possible, within our current powers, to make sure that that this doesn't damage our efforts to build sustainable economic growth for Scotland." Commenting, SNP MSP Maureen Watt who convenes the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee said: “The importance of stimulating our economy through capital investment has never been greater. “As such I welcome the fact that – despite continued Westminster cuts - the Scottish Government has been able to put more resources into such a variety of important projects. “The new homes that have been announced will build upon the Scottish Government’s fantastic record of home construction. “The Finance Secretary should be congratulated for the efficient management of the Scottish Government’s budget which has made this possible. “These timely economic boosts will be good news for communities across the country. “The Scottish Government’s determination to boost our economy through capital investment stands in stark contrast to the UK’s increasingly isolated refusal to follow suit. The Chancellor is performing one u-turn after another, and this one would give a huge boost to Scotland’s economy. “But the Tories’ actions are holding Scotland’s economy back, and show why it is so important for Scotland to gain control of the economic levers we need to grow our economy.” Commenting on the £20m that is to be invested in upgrading the A75 between Hardgrove and Kinmount, South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine said: “I am absolutely delighted that the A75 is set to be upgraded. It will bring much needed jobs to the region and help the many businesses that make use of the route. "In spite of the massive cuts to Scotland’s capital budget, the SNP Scottish Government has listened to the concerns of local people and campaigners, and found the money to deliver this vital upgrade. "I know this announcement will be widely welcomed by anyone who uses the A75. It is another clear example of the Scottish Government listening to people in Dumfries & Galloway and acting on their concerns."