Reform Scotland News: 13 April 201213.04.2012

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is highlighted and underlined.

In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV News and Sky News

Politics

Pensions black hole: According to a report by Taxpayer Scotland, councils’ investment funds are not raising enough money to cover the cost of their pensions leaving a “gaping pensions deficit” of £4.16bn.  Figures indicated that councils have assets of more than £18bn but liabilities of £22.5bn. (Scotsman page 1, Trevor Salmon in the Scotsman, Mail page 1, Herald page 2, Times page 20, Telegraph page 11,)

UK Tory leadership: Tim Montgomerie in the Guardian contemplates who could be the next leader of the Conservative party.

Economy

Tourism: There were 15.7million visits to Scotland last year, up 9 per cent on 2010 with spending by visitors reaching £4.5bn, 14 per cent up on the previous year.  The success has been partly attributed to ‘staycations’. (Scotsman page 8, Garry Clark in the Scotsman, Record page 23, Courier page 14, Herald page 4, P&J page 17)

Economic growth: George Kerevan in the Scotsman looks at a number of economic models to help improve growth but argues independence offers the best prospects.

Cost of independence: The Economist has concluded that an independent Scotland’s economy would be ‘vulnerable’ and ‘marginal’ and that both unionist and nationalist arguments about the UK subsidising Scotland or oil subsidising the UK are both wrong. (Herald page 6)

Charity tax: Vince Cable has become the latest person to criticise the UK government’s so-called ‘charity tax’.  Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and David Davis have also reportedly voiced concerns. Universities including Oxford and Cambridge warn that it could “jeopardise the philanthropy on which they rely.” (Mail page 6, Guardian page 15, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Telegraph page 6, Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph)

Redevelopment of Linwood town centre: Renfrewshire Council have announced that the £20 million redevelopment scheme of “Scotland’s most dismal town” has finally been given the go-ahead, after five years of legal hurdles and the collapse of a previous plan. (Herald page 4)

Stamp ‘rationing’: Royal Mail confirmed that is has limited the number of stamps retailers can buy, ostensibly in order to protect profits from unprecedented price rises later this month. (Telegraph page 1)

Local Government

Local elections: The SNP yesterday launched its manifesto for Glasgow ahead of the Scottish local elections on May 3rd.  The SNP have reportedly set beating Labour in Glasgow as its most important target for the elections, and have insisted that the vote is about local issues, not independence. (Scotsman page 16, Record page 2, Herald page 6, Times page 11)

Education

Curriculum for Excellence: Dr Mark Priestly, who co-wrote a critical report on the introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence, has rejected suggestions made by the Scottish Government that his research was out of date stating that the survey part of the data was collected in September 2011. Dr Priestly also commented that his findings have been mirrored by work carried out by teaching union the EIS. (Scotsman page 10, TESS page 5)

 Learning from Wales: Henry Hepburn and Darren Evans in the TESS consider how the Scottish education system could learn from the mistakes made in Wales since devolution which has seen pupils lagging behind the rest of the UK.

Transport

Forth Ferry:  A passenger ferry service across the Forth could start from next summer between Burntisland and Granton.  Pentland Ferries have confirmed that they are in early talks about operating ferries for commuters. (Scotsman page 1)

BA jobs: Up to 140 jobs are reportedly under threat at Glasgow and Edinburgh airports as part of 1,200 potential UK loses following the takeover of bmi by British Airways. (Scotsman page 14, Guardian page 31, Herald page 2, P&J page 13, Express page 9)

Ryanair: Jim O’Sullivan, managing director at Edinburgh Airport, has said that Ryanair “must pay its way” after the airline cut eight routes to the airport claiming the airport had failed to offer them a competitive deal.  Mr O’Sullivan has said that he can’t offer an extension to the airline’s five-year base agreement due to the owners of the airport, BAA, putting the airport up for sale.  Ryanair claims that the cut in its routes from Edinburgh could cost 500 jobs. (Scotsman page 19, Sun page 6, Mail page 1, Record page 4, Herald page 2, Times page 17, P&J page 12, Telegraph page 11)

Health

Lung cancer: According to Cancer Research UK, lung cancer remains the most common form of cancer in Scotland with 5,000 cases recorded in 2009 compared to 4,400 cases of breast cancer.  Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the rest of the UK. (Scotsman page 18, Mail page 1, Herald page 3, P&J page 18)

Gaelic: It is reported that the NHS in Scotland may have to spend tens of thousands on Gaelic-branded uniforms and signs under the SNP’s drive to put the language on the same footing as English. (Mail page 1, Express page 4)