Reform Scotland News: 10 September 2013


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


Ed Miliband: Ed Miliband is today expected to tell trade union leaders that he is determined to reform the relationship between Labour and the unions. The changes would mean that union members are no longer automatically Labour members, and so would result in a drop in party funding. The Labour leader has also referred to the three million Labour-affiliate as “members of the party in name only” and wants to focus on attracting more full-members to the party. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 1, Financial Times page 3, Courier and Advertiser page 15, Press and Journal page 15). The Unison general secretary has stated that Ed Miliband risks jeopardising Labour’s chances at the next election if he pushes his union reforms through. (Guardian page 9)
BBC: An enquiry has begun into retirement payoffs at the BBC. The chair of the Commons public accounts committee, Margaret Hodge, has criticised the governance of the BBC following retirement payouts in excess of £3 million. She stated that the governance is not ‘fit for purpose’ and senior figures are not up to the job. Seven senior figures of the BBC, including the former Director-General and head of HR, appeared in front of the committee to defend the pay outs. (Scotsman 
page 18, Herald page 2, Daily Express page 17 Guardian page 1, Telegraph page 4, Daily Mail page 6, Courier page 19, Press and Journal page 20)
Nicola Sturgeon: Nicola Sturgeon had condemned a scheme in Glasgow which tells asylum seekers to go home, stating that it ‘set the wrong tone’. The Deputy First Minister wrote to the Home Office to express her concerns following posters going on display at the Glasgow office of the UK Border Agency, which showed messages such as ‘Going home is simple’.(Herald 
page 1)
Red Paper Collective: 
Pauline Bryan and Tommy Kane in the Herald comments on the publication of ‘Class, Nation, and Socialism: The Red Paper on Scotland 2014’, the central theme of which looks at how the interests of the working class people are best served and advanced.
Independence support: A new survey has revealed that support for independence is higher in England than it is in Scotland. One in four people in England believe that Scotland should be independently governed, while the same survey shows that only 23% of Scots back independence. 43% of English people surveyed supported devolution, while 23% felt that there should be no Scottish parliament at all. (Herald 
page 7, Times page 7, Magnus Linklater in The Times)
Bill Walker: The spokesperson for former MSP Bill Walker has withdrawn his comments about one of Mr Walker’s ex-wives, which suggested that she ‘enjoyed the limelight’ surrounding Bill Walker’s conviction for abuse.  Bill Walker was convicted of 23 domestic abuse charges and has resigned as an MSP. (Scotsman 
page 8, Times page 4, Herald page 5, Daily Mail page 10, Press and Journal page 11, Courier page 11)
The chief executive of the SNP, Peter Murrell, has reportedly come under fire after opposition members demanded to know when he found out about Mr Walker’s history of domestic abuse, prior to the court case. (Times page 4)
Opinion polls: 
Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments on the opinion polls being used to measure support for Scottish independence. He also writes about the influence of the economy on public opinion, and whether it is as important as other factors such as public perception of MSPs and MPs.


Independent currency: Economists Jim and Margaret Cuthbert have said an independent Scotland would have difficulty gaining full independence if it does not adopt a new currency, either being dominated by England if it kept the pound or by Germany if it adopts the Euro. The report dismissed claims that Scotland is too small to have its own stable currency. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 7, Courier page 15)

HMRC: HMRC is reportedly set to target thousands of tax avoiding businesses. It claims that one in every fourteen small and medium sized businesses is deliberately avoiding paying tax, equating to around 23,000 Scottish businesses, with another 15% paying too little tax as they do not fully understand the tax laws. (Herald page 1)


OAP care: The standard of care for elderly people who damage their hips is failing to meet national standards and varies across the country. More than 6000 people are admitted to hospital with hip fractures every year. (Herald page 8)

Local Government

Scottish council’s risk: Scottish councils have stated their concern that local democracy could be under threat by a flagship drive to merge health and social care across the country. (Scotsman page 14)